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Turkey Begins Coup Plot Trial


A trial has begun in Turkey for nearly 200 military officers, including some high-ranking officials, who are accused of involvement in an alleged plot to overthrow the government in 2003.

Turkish media reports say the active and retired officers on trial Thursday are linked to plans that included blowing up mosques and downing a Turkish plane and then blaming Greece. The defendants deny the allegations and say hypothetical scenarios were discussed at a seminar.

Authorities say the alleged plot, dubbed "Sledgehammer," was an attempt to discredit the government and trigger a military take-over. Turkey's military ousted four governments between 1960 and 1997.

Admirals and generals are among the 196 suspects on trial in the case which could revive tensions between the country's Islamic-rooted government and its secularist armed forces. The suspects face up to 20 years in prison.

The officers on trial include former army commander General Cetin Dogan, the alleged mastermind of the plot.



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