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Turkey Orders Arrest of 102 in Coup Plot

A Turkish court on Friday ordered the arrest of 102 people in connection with an alleged 2003 plot to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government.

The suspects include at least three retired military commanders. They were ordered jailed pending trial in December on charges of conspiring in a planned military takeover dubbed "Sledgehammer."

The court indicted 196 people on Monday, including the 102 expected to be rounded up by police. The rest of those indicted will remain free. The accused face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Turkey's military has overthrown four governments since 1960. But it denied the 2003 alleged plot, saying military exercises linked to it were instead training seminars where officers simulated uprising controls.

Arrests in the case have triggered tensions between the Turkish government and the military, which considers itself the guardian of the country's secular tradition.

More than 400 people, including pro-secular academics, journalists, politicians and soldiers, are already on trial on separate charges of plotting to bring down the government.

That group is suspected in attacks on a newspaper and a courthouse, and plots to kill Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.