Istanbul's chief prosecutor says 86 people will be prosecuted under
terrorism laws for attempting to overthrow the government. Dorian
Jones reports from Istanbul the indictments were made while the ruling
Islamic AK Party is facing closure on charges of undermining the
Istanbul chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin told a news conference the 86 defendants have been indicted on terror charges.
He says the indictment covers crimes such as forming an armed terror group and attempting to overthrow the government by force.
nearly 2,500-page indictment is the culmination of a 13-month
investigation sparked by the discovery of a cache of arms and
explosives in an Istanbul suburb. The investigation, held in secret
under Turkey 's strict anti-terror laws, led to the detention of dozens
of people, including alleged mafia members, businessmen and retired
The prosecutor says the plotters sought to bring chaos to the country.
says the defendants will face charges of seeking to provoke civil
unrest, public disorder offenses, provoking disobedience within the
army, and possession of explosives. He says the court has to decide
whether to accept the case within 15 days.
conspirators are claimed to have called their gang Ergenekon, the name
of a mythical land where Turks once were said to have sought refuge.
1960, the army has forced four governments from office. The deputy
editor of the Turkish daily Taraf, Yasmin Congar, says the case is a
key moment for Turkish democracy.
"If people manage to get to
the roots of this Ergenekon gang and to basically kick them out of the
state structure, then we can become a democratic country," he said. "If
we do not do that it is going to be more coups, more interferences in
politics by forces we do not know."
But critics of the
investigation have attacked both its methods and motivation. Many of
those arrested have been held for months without charge.
also point out the last arrests were made on the same day Turkey's
chief prosecutor presented a case to the constitutional court that
calls for the closure of the ruling AK Party on charges of undermining
the country's secularism.
The two cases are polarizing Turkish
society, with both sides accusing the other of using the judiciary for
political purposes. Analysts say it is not only the defendants on
trial, but also Turkey's legal system.