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Turkey’s ex-army chief arrested over alleged anti-government plot

ISTANBUL (BNO NEWS) — A civilian court on Friday arrested a former head of the Turkish armed forces on charges of heading a terrorist organization plotting to overthrow the government, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Saturday.

Former Chief of General Staff ?lker Ba?bu? arrived on Thursday at an Istanbul prosecutor’s office to testify in an ongoing case into an alleged propaganda campaign against the current government by the Turkish Armed Forces. He rejects accusations that he sought to overthrow the government through propaganda.

After seven hours of questioning, the court ordered Ba?bu?’s arrest and sent him to Silivri prison near Istanbul. This is the first time in Turkey’s history that a former chief of staff has been arrested by a civilian court.

President Abdullah Gül commented on Ba?bu?’s arrest, saying: “Everyone is equal in front of the law; the matter should be contemplated with an even-temper.”

Ba?bu?, who retired in 2010, said it was painful for him to be accused of attempting to overthrow the government by forming several websites and making several press statements. “If I had such malicious intentions, I could have found other ways of achieving them given that I commanded a force of 700,000 people,” he said, as quoted by the newspaper.

Ba?bu? is accused of being involved in the Ergenekon network, a nationalist group that allegedly created dozens of websites in an attempt to bring down the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Some 400 suspects, including dozens of journalists, are already on trial.

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