Turkish court indicts 196 over 'coup plot'

Adm Ozden Ornek (file image) Former navy commander Adm Ozden Ornek is among those indicted

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An Istanbul court has indicted 196 people for plotting to overthrow the government, the state news agency says.

The suspects were arrested earlier this year, and include serving and former senior military officers.

They are accused of involvement in an alleged conspiracy to create chaos and pave the way for a military takeover.

The case is the latest in a series involving alleged plots against the Islamist-rooted government by the military and secular establishment.

Hundreds of people, including academics, journalists, politicians and military officers, are currently on trial over separate alleged plots against the government.

However, no-one has been convicted more than three years after the first official investigation.

Most of those charged on Monday were detained in February - but then released - after the national newspaper Taraf published allegedly leaked copies of documents detailing their supposed plans. No trial date has been set.

The indictment says the alleged conspiracy was drawn up in 2003 at the Istanbul base of the Turkish First Army shortly after the governing AKP party came to power.

Those charged include Gen Cetin Dogan, former head of the First Army; former navy chief Adm Ozden Ornek; former air force commander Gen Halil Ibrahim Firtina and the former number two of the general staff, retired Gen Ergin Saygun, Anatolia news agency reported.

The alleged plot - codenamed Operation Sledgehammer - reportedly involved plans to bomb mosques and provoke tensions with Greece, in order to spark political chaos and justify a military takeover.

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