Turkey's Ex-Military Chief Arrested Over Alleged Plot

Gen. Ilker Basbug allegedly led conspiracy to discredit government
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2012 8:28 AM CST
Turkey's Ex-Military Chief Arrested Over Alleged Plot
In this March 15, 2010 file photo, Turkey's former Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug speaks during the International Symposium on Global Terrorism and International Cooperation in Ankara, Turkey.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

A former Turkish military chief was jailed today, accused of leading a terror organization and conspiring to bring down the government, his lawyer says, becoming the most senior officer to face trial in a series of investigations into alleged anti-government plots. Gen. Ilker Basbug was arrested and placed in a prison near Istanbul overnight after seven hours of questioning by prosecutors investigating allegations that the military funded dozens of websites aimed at discrediting the Islamic-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2009.

Some of the suspects already charged in the case, including senior generals and admirals, have said they acted in a chain of command. Basbug, who retired in August 2010, led the military at the time. The jailing of a former military chief—unimaginable a few years back—comes as the government, which has won three successive elections, has sharply reduced the political clout of the military. Military leaders have staged three coups and forced an Islamist prime minister to quit in 1997. Click for more on the alleged conspiracy. (More Turkey stories.)

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