Arrests Made in Turkey Coup Plot


ANKARA (BBC NEWS) — Turkish police have detained at least 12 people, including a university head, in connection with an alleged plot to overthrow the government, reports say.

Police also searched the headquarters of a television station and offices of groups that promote secularism, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

The arrests are said to be part of the long-running inquiry into the shadowy ultra-nationalist Ergenekon network.

Its members are accused of plotting attacks to provoke a military coup.

Dozens of people, including retired military officers, politicians, academics and
journalists, have been arrested since 2007.

Mehmet Haberal, the president of Ankara’s Baskent University, and Fatih Hilmioglu, the former head of Inonu University in Malatya, were among those detained on Monday, Anatolia reported.

Haberal has in recent months organized meetings with opponents of the governing AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam. He also owns the Kanal B television station, whose headquarters were searched by police on Monday.

Investigators also entered the offices of three non-governmental organizations
which took part in mass anti-government demonstrations in 2007.

Eighty-six people went on trial in October, accused of being part of Ergenekon.

Attacks on those key parts of the secular establishment were supposed to foment chaos and to provoke Turkey’s military into launching a coup in defense of secular interests, it is alleged.

The suspects deny the charges, saying they are politically motivated.