Detained officers included former Air Force and Navy chiefs
Turkish police arrested on Monday more than 40 people, including former Air Force and Navy chiefs and other senior officers, over an alleged plot to topple the Islamist-rooted government, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"This morning our security forces began a detention process," he told a news conference during an official visit to Spain.
"As of now, more than 40 people have been detained."
The swoop, one of the largest in European Union candidate Turkey against the secularist armed forces, further raised tensions between the ruling AK Party and the military, which has been implicated in several alleged plots in the past year.
Former Air Force Commander Ibrahim Firtina, former Naval Commander Ozden Ornek and ex-Deputy Chief of the General Staff General Ergin Saygun, were among those held, broadcasters said.
Current armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug delayed a trip to Egypt as a result, broadcaster CNN Turk reported. In total seven serving officers and seven retired officers were detained.
Interior Minister Besir Atalay, accompanying Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit to Spain, said he was being kept informed of developments, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.
NTV said the suspects held in Ankara were being flown to Istanbul for questioning over the "Sledgehammer" plot after police raids in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
Neither police nor the military had any immediate comment.
Financial markets showed little reaction to the detentions, but Wolfango Piccoli from the Eurasia political risk consultancy said they looked set to trigger another escalation in the tense relations between the military and the AK Party.
"The government is now embroiled in an open and bitter power-struggle with the judiciary and the military, raising the risk of a head-on confrontation that would badly damage political stability," Piccoli said.
Such detentions would have been unthinkable in the past for the military, which has ousted four governments in the last 50 years. However, its powers have waned in recent years due to democratic reforms aimed at securing EU membership.
Other senior military officers have been indicted on charges of planning a separate plot to overthrow the AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam.
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.
Turkey and neighboring Greece have longstanding territorial disputes and came close to war in 1996 over an islet in the Aegean, though relations have improved in the last decade.
The alleged plot also involved planting 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 plan which was aimed at justifying 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.
Feb 22, 2010
By Andre Damon
The incomes of the very rich in the US grew phenomenally between 1992 and 2007, while their tax rates plummeted, according to recently uncovered IRS statistics.
After the still ongoing decades long US genocidal rampage around the globe, many progressives still get scandalized by affirmations like this:
By Michael Isikoff
The chief author of the Bush administration's "torture memo" told Justice Department investigators that the president's war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be "massacred," according to a report released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility.
Hey progressive friends: on which planet are you living on? The evil Uncle Sam did and is still very openly doing much more than this. Please get real a.s.a.p.! Visit Waziristan!
Related: 40 Killed in Pakistan:
The armed forces on Saturday said at least 30 Taliban were killed in an airstrike when jet fighters pounded their positions in the Shawal mountains of South Waziristan Agency.
[in fact they bombed a bus with about 40 civilians on board]
[in fact they bombed a bus with about 40 civilians on board]
More: Enjoy a safari to shoot children for only 2,000 U$ each: visit Afghanistan or join the Army and do it for free, courtesy of taxpayers:
The death of a child or adult is worth $1,500-$2,500, loss of limb and other injuries $600-$1,500, a damaged or destroyed vehicle $500-$2,500, and damage to a farmer's fields $50-$250.
Hat tip to ICH:
By Press TV:
According to a report published by Times Online Netanyahu held a meeting with Mossad chief Meir Dagan in early January inside the briefing room of the headquarters of the spy agency where "some members of a hit squad" were also present.
Meir Dagan: The Mastermind Behind Mossad's Secret War
By Uzi Mahnaimi
Netanyahu gave his authorisation, in effect signing Mabhouh's death warrant.
By Melissa Kite, Deputy Political Editor
Israeli immigration officials at Tel Aviv airport secretly copied the British passports which were then used by the hit squad which assassinated a leading Hamas official, ministers have been told.
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Protect Your ASSets: Buy Gold or Silver NOW - If you wait you will be late.
(He who panics first, just may salvage something.