Turkish army demands retrial in coup plot cases: Reports

AFP , Thursday 2 Jan 2014

Turkey's military has demanded a retrial for army officers convicted of plotting to topple the government in two separate cases, claiming the evidence was fabricated, media reports said Thursday.

The armed forces lodged a complaint about the evidence with the Ankara chief prosecutor's office on December 27, the private NTV television reported.

In 2013, former army chief General Ilker Basbug was jailed for life and scores of army officers, journalists and lawyers were imprisoned for their role in the so-called "Ergenekon" conspiracy, an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In 2012, more than 300 active and retired military officers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 20 years in a trial that ruled that an army exercise in 2003, codenamed "Sledgehammer", was an undercover coup plot against Erdogan's Islamic-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The military, which sees itself as the guarantor of Turkey's secular principles, has carried out three coups -- in 1960, 1971 and 1980, -- and forced an Islamist government to step down in 1997.

But since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan's government has reined in the once-powerful military with a number of court cases.

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