Eleven generals arrested in 1997 coup probe

Eight public prosecutors completed the interrogation of 17 suspects who were detained on Tuesday in the probe and referred 15 of them to the court for arrest. Two were released pending trial.

Eleven generals arrested in 1997 coup probe

World Bulletin/News Desk

Eleven suspects, which include both active duty and retired generals, were sent to jail by an Ankara court early on Thursday as part of an investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military coup.

Eight public prosecutors completed the interrogation of 17 suspects who were detained on Tuesday in the probe and referred 15 of them to the court for arrest. Two were released pending trial.

The Ankara 11th High Criminal Court ruled in favor of the arrest of 11 of them, which includes six active duty and five retired generals. The active duty generals were sent to Mamak Prison, while the retired officers are being held at Sincan Prison. Retired Gen. Çetin Saner, who is known to have threatened to impale an interior minister during the Feb. 28, 1997 coup era, was also among the jailed.

A total of 39 people were arrested in the first three operations of the Feb. 28 investigation last month. The suspects are all accused of playing a major role in the 1997 coup, when the military forced a coalition government led by a now-defunct conservative party, the Welfare Party (RP), out of power on the grounds that there was rising religious fundamentalism in the country.

Those sent to jail include retired Gen. Çevik Bir, who is known to have played a major role in the 1997 coup, and retired Gen. Erol Özkasnak, the secretary-general of the General Staff at the time. Özkasnak is known to have played a major role in the coup generals' communication with the media in order to put pressure on the government to resign.

Reportedly at the heart of the Feb. 28 investigation are the actions of the West Study Group (BÇG), which was established within the military to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds before and after the coup. Bir, the deputy chief of General Staff at the time, was the head of the BÇG.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mayıs 2012, 16:16

Muhammed Öylek

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