Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




DEMOCRACY
Turkish 'coup plotters' jailing a warning to army: analysts
by Staff Writers
Istanbul (AFP) Sept 22, 2012


A Turkish court's landmark conviction of some 300 military officers accused of plotting to oust an elected government sends a stark warning to the armed forces, whose dominance may have reached its end, according to analysts.

The civilian court sentenced at least 325 officers to prison terms ranging from 12 to 20 years, at the end of a two-year trial that finally ruled that an army exercise in 2003, named "Sledgehammer," was an undercover coup plot.

The verdict brought a divided emotional reaction across the political spectrum in Turkey, which has seen four coups in half a century with none of their perpetrators yet convicted.

"Even the mightiest of commanders are now being held accountable in courts. That is a positive development," Deniz Zeyrek, Ankara bureau chief of the daily Radikal, told AFP.

But Zeyrek noted that the process was not perceived as "meticulous enough" by the public, saying the reasons for the court decision should be clearly explained in the justified ruling, which currently remains pending.

Turkey needs to hear the grounds for the conviction of its generals before a judgement on the outcome can be made, a political analyst agreed.

"The ruling is a historic turning point, if there really has been a crime which met its punishment," professor Mensur Akgun from Kultur University said.

"If the legal process failed to operate, then the outcome is disturbing."

The three "masterminds," former First Army commander Cetin Dogan, former air forces commander Ibrahim Firtina and former naval chief Ozden Ornek initially received aggravated life sentences -- the heaviest possible since Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004.

But their sentences were immediately commuted to 20 years, on the grounds that their plan to unseat the Islamic-rooted government fell through "due to reasons beyond their control," the court stated.

Only 36 defendants were acquitted among the 365 suspects, all of them retired or active military officers. The rest were handed at least 12 years in prison for their role in trying to "incapacitate the parliament from functioning by force."

"The Sledgehammer landed heavily," read Radikal's headline on Saturday, while the pro-opposition daily Cumhuriyet criticised the ruling with: "Sledgehammer, strike to justice."

The so-called Sledgehammer plans were first brought to light in January 2010, after leaked army information was publicised by the liberal Taraf daily, which hailed the verdict with the headline: "It is now much more difficult to attempt coups."

The evidence included documents, diary entries and sound recordings of some of the generals, outlining plans to bomb mosques to provoke internal conflict, as well as to stir chaos with neighbouring countries, which would have paved the way for a military takeover to restore peace.

The charges triggered a vehement reaction, with defendants openly suggesting that the trial was being used by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to strike down the all-powerful army, the self-appointed guardian of secularism.

"I find the verdict too heavy. The accusations are grave, so the ruling needs to be convincing," Hikmet Sami Turk, former justice and defence minister said.

"I believe such decisions have negative affects on army morale, at such a critical time when there is the Syrian crisis on the doorstep and the Kurdish problem inside the borders."

Critics have repeatedly claimed the trials are part of a witch-hunt by the government to silence opposition in order to increase its grip.

The government, which came to power a year before coup plans were allegedly drafted, gave a cautious initial reaction.

"We need to follow and see the decision of the supreme court of appeals. We all expect a rightful decision to come out from there," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

As some raised questions on the shortcomings of the trial, others praised the verdict as a legal victory that could finally put the lid on the military tradition of interfering in politics.

"This decision will put an end to the military tutelage," Nazli Ilicak, columnist for government-friendly Sabah daily told NTV.

But she added, "It is going to be deterring for both civilian and military spheres."

.


Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





DEMOCRACY
Uruguay's Mujica suffers popularity slump
Montevideo, Uruguay (UPI) Sep 21, 2012
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica is facing a sharp drop in approval ratings as the country's development targets slip through a combination of external factors and the president's alleged lackluster performance. Mujica, 77, came to power amid optimism his easy-going patrician style of governance would boost business confidence, stabilize Uruguayan society and make the most of the country ... read more


DEMOCRACY
EU offers Italy 670 mn euros in quake aid

Norway supplies $168M for famine relief

Haunting 'Land of Hope' part shot on location in Fukushima

Japan slams brakes on $63 billion in spending

DEMOCRACY
'5,000 police' quell Foxconn brawl: state media

Apple seeks more damages in wake of win against Samsung

ORNL research uncovers path to defect-free thin films

Humans were already recycling 13,000 years ago

DEMOCRACY
Zimbabwe city orders 'big flush' amid water rationing

In half century, Brazil lost 80% of coral reef: study

The "slippery slope to slime": Overgrown algae causing coral reef declines

Sea Surface Temperatures Reach Record Highs on Northeast Continental Shelf

DEMOCRACY
'Planetary emergency' due to Arctic melt, experts warn

Warming ocean could start big shift of Antarctic ice

Arctic Sea Ice Hits Smallest Extent In Satellite Era

Alpine glaciers contribute to carbon cycling

DEMOCRACY
Global economic pressures trickle down to local landscape change, altering disease risk

Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines

Growing corn to treat rare disease

Horticultural hijacking

DEMOCRACY
Million displaced by floods in India: officials

An Expedition to the Earth's Fiery Heart

Hurricane Miriam in the Pacific strengthens to Category 2

Discovering Hot Towers

DEMOCRACY
24-hour curfew imposed in restive Nigeria state

Endless Congo war flares anew amid mutiny

Food supplements have little effect on the weight of malnourished children

Moroccan ex-POWs from W. Sahara conflict hold sit-in

DEMOCRACY
Breaking up harder to do on Facebook

Genetic mutation may have allowed early humans to migrate throughout Africa

Ancient tooth may provide evidence of early human dentistry

People change moral position without even realizing it




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement