World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's prime minister on Tuesday dismissed claims by the opposition that his government was trying to silence opponents and critics after a court ordered the arrests of some 160 active and retired officers, including generals and admirals, on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.
"Turkey is witnessing developments about retired and active duty members of the military. Everything is happening within the scope of law. Everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty. No one can speak about interference in the judiciary by the AK Party [on the Sledgehammer case]," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a regular weekly address to members of his ruling party in the parliament.
Most of 163 suspects, including former air force and navy chiefs, whom an Istanbul court ruled to arrest last week, have been put behind the bars as part of the trial, better known as the Sledgehammer case.
Sledgehammer is a subversive plot allegedly prepared by a clique inside the military that included plans to crash jets and bomb large mosques at busy prayer hours to undermine the ruling AK Party with the hope of eventually overthrowing it. Currently there are 195 suspects in the case, all of whom are retired and active duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces.
"This trial process will answer all questions in the minds of people and strengthen the Turkish Armed Forces further," Erdogan told lawmakers in parliament. "All should respect the judicial process."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Şubat 2011, 17:35