Turkish media say police have seized documents indicating a group of
prominent secular activists planned to initiate an anti-government coup
with mass protests and political assassinations.
newspaper Thursday said authorities uncovered the plans during
an operation targeting suspected members of the hardline secularist
network Ergenekon. It says the documents show the group planned to
launch illegal protests and clashes with security forces on July 7.
Police detained 21 suspected members of the network
Tuesday. Officials say the detentions are part of an ongoing police
investigation into the group, which is accused of plotting disturbances
to trigger an army takeover of the Islamic-leaning government.
Turkey's deputy prime minister, Cemil Cicek, defended the ruling AK
(Justice and Development) party in court against charges that it has
tried to undermine secular rule and should be banned. He presented the
party's defense before the Constitutional Court in a closed-door
Turkey's chief prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, has argued the ruling party is trying to turn
Turkey into an Islamic state. He appeared in court Tuesday to present
Yalcinkaya also is calling for about 70 AK party
members, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President
Abdullah Gul, to be barred from politics.
The European Union has
criticized the proposed ban, warning that the case may interfere with
Turkey's long-term goals of joining the 27-nation bloc.
secularists accuse the AK party of attacking Turkey's secular system by
trying to ease restrictions on religious symbols such as Islamic
Many Turks are suspicious of the AK party's
Islamist roots, but recent opinion polls shows 51 percent of
respondents also oppose the party's closure.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.