Turkey retires 40 'coup plot' generals

Turkish officers in Ankara, 29 Oct 10 For decades the Turkish military's shadowy grip on society was known as "the deep state"

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Turkey's military high command has retired 40 generals and admirals who are currently in custody on charges of coup plotting.

The Supreme Military Council (YAS) said the 40 were among 55 top officers being discharged through retirement.

Moves to promote the arrested generals were suspended last year.

Since 2008 hundreds of officers have been arrested for suspected coup plots against the Islamist-rooted government of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The investigations into the so-called "Ergenekon" and "Sledgehammer" coup plots have undermined the traditionally powerful influence of the military in Turkish politics.

Last year the chiefs of staff resigned in protest at the arrests. Critics of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) say the investigations are politically motivated.

Prominent academics, journalists and lawyers have also been detained in the "coup plot" investigations. Many are still awaiting trial and some have not even been charged.

Turkey's military has long seen itself as the guarantor of the country's secular constitution. It staged three coups between 1960 and 1980.

The YAS promoted 47 colonels to the rank of general or admiral on Saturday. The YAS decisions were approved by President Abdullah Gul.

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