Turkey's Arinc speaks about assassination plot for first time

Arinc said he did not want to believe in media reports that two army officers detained last weekend were part of a plot to assassinate him.

Turkey's Arinc speaks about assassination plot for first time

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Thursday said he did not want to believe in media reports that two army officers detained last weekend were part of a plot to assassinate him.

"The current situation does not necessarily mean it was an assassination attempt, the speculation may be exaggerated," Arinc told a news conference in Istanbul, in his first public comments since the officers were detained on Saturday.

Arinc said a security guard at his home in Ankara had called police after seeing a car pass the house several times.

Police said that one of the officers had tried to swallow a "piece of paper" when he was first detained, but no incriminating evidence was found when their homes were searched, Arinc said.

Media said his home address was written on the "piece of paper"

"I want to believe with all my heart that Turkey's most honourable, respected and disciplined institution does not have people who could plot such a thing against a deputy prime minister," Arinc said.

Some reports have linked the detained officers to a shadowy secularist and ultra-nationalist group called Ergenekon, whose alleged members are on trial for attempting to topple the government.

Some 200 people, including military officers, lawyers and academics, have been arrested during the Ergenekon probe.

On Thursday, Erdogan met General Ilker Basbug, the Chief of General Staff.

International and domestic issues were discussed during the routine two-hour meeting, a prime ministerial aide said.

Turkey's military broke its silence on Wednesday, issuing a statement.

The statement said, "the truth would only come out once an investigation was complete."

The military statement said the two officers in the car had been running security checks on a military official living in the neighbourhood, who was suspected of leaking information.


Agencies

Last Mod: 24 Aralık 2009, 17:01
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