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Two generals arrested in Turkey’s 1997 coup case

ISTANBUL: Two more retired Turkish generals were jailed overnight in connection with a probe into a bloodless coup in 1997 that led to the removal of an Islamist-led government, the Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.
General Yucel Ozsir and former land forces commander General Erdal Ceylanoglu were among four ex-generals summoned to testify before prosecutors at an Ankara court on Wednesday, on the eve of the coup’s 16-year anniversary.
The two were sent to a high-security prison in Ankara’s Sincan district, the same place where army command rolled out tanks onto the streets in February 1997 in a thinly-veiled threat to then Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, who stepped down a few months later.
“General Ceylanoglu was asked questions about the tanks rolling out on February 4, 1997,” his lawyer Erol Aras told Anatolia.
“There were no other solid accusations,” he added, noting that he would appeal Ceylanoglu’s arrest pending trial.
Prosecutors are preparing an indictment for around 90 suspects, including 60 retired and active military officers, as part of the probe launched in 2011 and seen as the latest standoff between the military and the Islamist-rooted Turkish government.
At least four other generals have been jailed for their alleged roles in the coup.
Turkey’s military has long seen itself as the guarantor of the country’s secular constitution.
But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former disciple of Erbakan, has sought to curb its powers.
In September, more than 300 retired and active military officers received prison sentences of up to 20 years for an undercover coup plot in 2003 to overthrow his government.
Hundreds of suspects, including army officers, journalists, academics and lawmakers, are being tried in separate cases over their alleged roles in plots to topple Erdogan’s government, in power since 2002.

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