Turkey widens Feb. 28 coup probe

Several more retired Turkish generals were taken to the Ankara Courthouse on Friday to give testimony as part of an investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup.

Turkey widens Feb. 28 coup probe

World Bulletin / News Desk

Several more retired Turkish generals, including former Air Forces Commander Gen. Ergin Celasin, were taken to the Ankara Courthouse on Friday to give testimony as part of an investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup, following the arrest of eight generals over the past two days in the same investigation.

The summoning of the generals, on top of dozens of other officers arrested, has widened the extensive judicial investigations into the once all-powerful military, whose clout has been sharply curtailed in the last decade. Those called to testify were identified as Vice Adm. Aydan Erol, former Air Forces Commander Gen. Ergin Celasin, Rear Adm. Mustafa Özbey, Brig. Gen. İzzettin Gürdal, Rear Adm. İsmail Ruhsar Sümer and Lieut. Gen. Ahmet Atalay Efeer.

Gen. Ergin Celasin was promoted to the rank of general and appointed secretary-general of the National Security Council in 1997. In 1999, he was appointed as the commander of the Turkish Air Forces, and he retired in August 2001.

On Thursday, seven other former senior members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were summoned to testify in the Feb. 28 probe, with four arrested late in the day and three conditionally released.

A further four retired military generals were arrested late on Wednesday and sent to jail pending trial while one other was released as part of the same probe. The five men had been taken to the Ankara Courthouse earlier the same day to testify on their suspected roles in the coup.

With Thursday's arrests, the number of arrestees in the Feb. 28 coup probe over the past two days has risen to eight, while the total number of arrestees now stands at 68.

On Feb. 28, 1997, the Turkish military forced the coalition government led by the now-defunct conservative Welfare Party (RP) out of power citing alleged rising religious fundamentalism in the country. The Feb. 28 coup brought a series of severe restrictions on religious life, including an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the use of headscarves by women at university campuses and in positions of public service.

The military was also purged of members with suspected ties to religious groups and even officers who were simply observant Muslims. In addition, a number of newspapers were closed down after a National Security Council (MGK) decision called for closer monitoring of media outlets.

Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2013, 12:19
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