Trial of Turkey's 86 alleged Ergenekon coup plotters delayed

Türkiye Materials 27 October 2008 17:52 (UTC +04:00)

The Istanbul trial of 86 alleged coup plotters hit a delay Monday when one of the accused insisted that the entire 2,455-page indictment be read out in court, CNN-Turk television reported.

The broadcaster reported that the demand for a full reading came from just one defendant exercising his right to have the entire indictment read. The process is likely to take up to 10 days, reported dpa.

The 86 have been accused of plotting to carry out attacks throughout Turkey that would create the conditions necessary for the military to carry out a coup.

The defendants, who include former military officers, a best- selling author and the leader of a small left-wing party, are accused of a variety of crimes and are alleged to have belonged to a group known as Ergenekon, named after a mythical homeland of ancestral Turks.

Prosecutors claim Ergenekon is a terrorist organization which has had links to various murders in the past and had plans to carry out assassinations of political and social leaders, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former Chief of General Staff Yasar Buyukyanit and Nobel prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk.

Allegedly, the group hoped to use these planned assassinations and other types of destabilizing attacks to create chaos. This would have cleared the way for a 2009 military coup that would have been planned to bring order back to society.

Turkish media has said the trial is expected to shine a light on shadowy relations between staunch secularists and their supporters in the military and state institutions. These groups accuse the government of attempting to bring sharia (Islamic) law to Turkey.

Opposition figures have described the trial as a government witchhunt, planned as revenge for a failed legal attempt to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Others argue the trial is meant to distract voters from the AKP's alleged attempts to undermine the secular state and implement sharia.