Turkish court remands six retired generals over 1997 coup

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A Turkish court remanded six retired generals Tuesday as part of a widening probe into the 1997 bloodless coup that toppled the country’s first Islamist-led government, news agency Anatolie said. Among the detained officers was general Ilhan Kilic, the former secretary-general of the National Council of Security, a civilian-military organ that until recent years played a key role in Turkish politics. Former air force chief Ahmet Corekci and the head of land forces Hikmet Koksal were also ordered detained pending their trial, Anatolie said. Two of the six generals remanded by the Ankara court on Tuesday were already behind bars for their alleged involvement in another coup attempt in 2003 to overthrow the current government. Tuesday’s detentions marked the fifth wave of arrests related to the 1997 coup in recent months. About 40 former officials are already in provisional detention pending their trial. They have been accused of “attempts to overthrow the government or to partially or completely prevent its action,” the prosecutor’s office said. The 1997 coup is often qualified as “postmodern” as the officers toppled the government without having to use their troops or replacing the civilian administration with the military. A parade of tanks outside Ankara and an ultimatum addressed to Turkey’s first Islamist head of government, Necmettin Erbakan, at the time were all it took to overthrow his government without violence. The army, which sees itself as the guarantor of Turkey’s secular principles, overthrew three earlier administrations in 1960, 1971 and 1980.