Turkey's Gul meets PM, top general over coup probe tension

Turkey's political and military leaders meet as new arrests of military officers continue over an alleged coup plot against Erdogan's government.

Turkey's Gul meets PM, top general over coup probe tension

Turkey's problems will be solved within the constitution, the president said on Thursday after holding crisis talks with the prime minister and army chief to defuse tensions between the military and the government.

"It was stressed that citizens can be sure that the problems on the agenda will be solved within the framework of the constitution and our laws and during this process," President Abdullah Gul said in a statement at the end of three-hour talks with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and General Ilker Basbug.

"Everyone must act responsibly to prevent harm to our institutions," the statement said.

Erdogan later said the meeting had gone "very well", broadcasters reported.

The meeting took place as prosecutors began questioning former chiefs of the air force and navy, along with a deputy head of the armed forces at an Istanbul courthourse.

According to previous media reports on the Sledgehammer plan, denied by the military, the army had plotted to provoke Greek fighter jets into shooting down a Turkish military jet and planned to plant bombs in mosques and museums in Istanbul to stir chaos.

Last month Taraf newspaper said it had obtained 5,000 pages of documents and tapes on the Sledgehammer plan, which was aimed at showing the AK Party was unable to protect the public and to justify an army takeover in 2003.

The military has said documents quoted by the paper were part of a military training seminar but were "never meant to be carried out and were not part of a conspiracy".

The swoop, one of the largest in the country against the armed forces, followed reports of several alleged plots in the past year.

More arrests

Twelve officers, some of them admirals, have already been charged with plotting in 2003 to overthrow Erdogan's government.

A total of 8 military officers, including 3 retired army members, were arrested early on Thursday.

The officers, who were interrogated by the prosecutors at the Istanbul Court House in Besiktas, were first sent to the High Criminal Court on duty no: 10.

The court ruled that the current and former army members, including retired Gen. Izzet Ocak, retired Gen. Metin Yavuz Yalcin and retired Colonel Kubilay Aktas, shall be arrested.

Upon such ruling, the arrested officers were sent to prison.

Commanders of the military have already warned of a "serious situation" after an emergency meeting to discuss the investigation.

The former air force and navy chiefs being questioned on Thursday are merely the most high profile among 50 detained officers.

Concerns over new AKP closure case

Adding to the concerns, Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya said on Wednesday he was looking into statements made by two AK deputies. But he has not reached the stage of opening a formal investigation against the party.

If he does so, it could prompt a call for snap elections by the AK Party.

AKP sruvived an earlier closure case attempt in 2008. The Constitutional Court ruled not to close down the ruling AK Party, but it decided to deprive the party of the financial assistance that it would receive from the state.

Parliamentary elections are due in 2011.


Agencies

Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2010, 17:02
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