Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to put everyone who conspired against the country's democracy on trial as police detained eighteen more officers on Friday in an ongoing probe over an alleged coup plot several years ago to oust the government.
They say police detained them in 13 separate cities in a nationwide sweep on Friday.
The eighteen officers, all on active duty but one, were detained in 13 different provinces. Police sources said they would be transferred to Istanbul for interrogation.
The detentions are the second wave in the largest-ever crackdown on the country's military. Police earlier this week detained 49 officers, and a Turkish court has so far charged and jailed 31 of them so for plotting to overthrow the country's government.
"An impaired democracy is not the fate of this country," Erdogan told lawmakers at a televised meeting Friday. "No one is above the law, no one is untouchable, no one is privileged."
"The process under way is painstaking, but it is for the benefit of the people, today's developments are setting free the consciousness of the people," Erdogan said. "Those conspiring behind closed doors to trample on the nation's will from now on will find themselves facing justice."
He added: "They should know that they won't get away with it."
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".
An Istanbul court ordered release of ex-chiefs of Navy and Air Forces and a army commander on Thursday without pressing any charges, saying they were unlikely to flee.
Wiretap evidence and the discovery of alleged plans for a military coup prompted this week's detentions. The recordings that were published on leading Web sites were allegedly conversations between ranking commanders at a military unit under Gen. Cetin Dogan's command in Istanbul.
AgenciesLast Mod: 26 Şubat 2010, 17:10