News / Europe

    Turkey's Former Army Chief Jailed on Terror Charge

    Turkey's former Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug, center left, is surrounded by security officials as he arrives at a prosecutor's office in Istanbul, Turkey, January 5, 2012.
    Turkey's former Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug, center left, is surrounded by security officials as he arrives at a prosecutor's office in Istanbul, Turkey, January 5, 2012.
    Dorian Jones

    Turkey's former army chief was arrested on Friday over an alleged plot to topple the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. General Ilker Basbug is accused of leading a terrorist organization.

    Basbug was questioned for seven hours by Istanbul prosecutors and then sent to prison. Speaking to reporters as he was taken away, Basbug described the situation as "tragic comedy."

    But Turkish political scientist Cengiz Aktar said the arrest represents a changing of the guard.

    "It's a grand premiere. It has never before happened before in the republican history of this country since 1923. This man was in charge until a few years ago. It's a major development," said Aktar.

    Led by influential officers, Turkey's military ousted four governments between 1960 and 1997.

    Turkey's current Islamist-leaning government has shown contempt for the secular opposition.

    Turkish authorities have detained more than 300 people, including journalists, academics and politicians, as part of a wide-reaching investigation into a secular network known as Ergenekon.

    The Turkish army sees itself as appointed guardian of the secular state.

    Basbug was allegedly involved in an Internet campaign to undermine the ruling AK party by publishing allegations of corruption. He is one of hundreds of people jailed or tried as part of the four-year-long probe into secular dissent.

    Yasemin Congar, deputy editor of the Turkish newspaper Taraf, said it is right to weed out people bent on overthrowing the government.

    "It's basically about digging out the dirt within the state. If this country's prosecutors manage to go to the end of this, Turkey will definitely be more democratic, definitely more secure and [a] more transparent country."

    But criticism over the probe is growing. Critics say evidence against suspects is often thin.

    In court, Basbug confronted accusations against him, saying that as chief of a 700,000-strong military, he would have used other methods rather than publishing Internet stories had he intended an overthrow.

    Retired Brigadier General Haldun Solmazturk said former and current military men are being targeted for expressing opinions against the government.

    "Turkish democracy is reversing. It's going back. It's not advancing," said Solmazturk.

    At least 58 military men are in jail. So far, none have been convicted.

    Turkish political scientist Aktar of Istanbul's Bahcesehir University said the credibility of the Ergenekon probe is increasingly in doubt.

    "Judging by European and international standards, these trials are not fair. As long as there is no result to these ongoing custodies and trials, the entire Ergenekon case actually weakens," said Aktar.

    If convicted, Basbug and others face decades in jail.






    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora