News / Europe

Turkish Police Clash With Protesters at Conspiracy Trial

Security forces use water cannons to disperse protesters outside a courthouse  where a hearing on people charged with attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government is due to take place, in Silivri, Turkey, April 8, 2013.
Security forces use water cannons to disperse protesters outside a courthouse where a hearing on people charged with attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government is due to take place, in Silivri, Turkey, April 8, 2013.
Reuters
— Turkish police fired water cannons, teargas and pepper spray on Monday as they clashed with thousands of activists protesting outside a court in support of 275 people accused of plotting to topple the government, forcing a delay in the hearing.

Defendants in the trial of the "Ergenekon" group, an alleged underground network of secular arch-nationalists, were expected to begin their final defenses on Monday after prosecutors last month demanded life sentences for 64 of them.

Retired armed forces commander Ilker Basbug is among the defendants, including other military officers, politicians and academics, accused of attempting to stage a coup against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party government.

Demonstrators outside the court at the high-security Silivri jail near Istanbul waved Turkish flags and banners of left-wing and nationalist groups as they fought to break through police barriers.

"We are Mustafa Kemal's [Ataturk] soldiers," the crowd chanted, referring to modern Turkey's founder, who is a figurehead for Turkish secularists.

Police clashed violently with demonstrators when trying to disperse the crowd. Strong winds blew the pepper spray into the court, affecting defendants, journalists and dozens of opposition lawmakers who were among the spectators.

Chief Judge Hasan Huseyin Ozese declined to launch the hearing given the chaotic scenes. It was not clear when the session would begin.

The four-year-old trial has drawn accusations of political influence over the judiciary. The process of defendants making their final defences is expected to take at least another two months, before a verdict is announced.

Ergenekon is allegedly behind much of the political violence, extra-judicial killings and bomb attacks which have troubled Turkey in recent decades - embodying anti-democratic forces which Erdogan says he has fought to stamp out.

Critics see the case as a ploy to stifle opposition, part of a grand plan by the leader to tame the secularist establishment, including an army that intervened to topple governments four times in the second half of the 20th century.

Investigation of the alleged conspiracy, which surfaced in 2007 when police discovered a cache of weapons in Istanbul, was initially welcomed by a public eager to see an end to the "Deep State" - a shadowy network of militant secularists long believed to have been pulling the strings of power.

Dissenting voices have grown over the last four years, though, with the European Commission expressing concern about the handling of Ergenekon and other conspiracy trials.

Last September, a court in Silivri jailed more than 300 military officers in another trial for plotting to overthrow Erdogan's government.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid