Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is “disturbed” by raids targeting former and serving military officials in an investigation into the so-called postmodern coup of 1997, which ousted an Islamist-led government.
Detentions ordered by prosecutors in the past month are “unsettling the public,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara late yesterday. Seventeen officers were rounded up yesterday as part of a fourth wave of arrests. More than 50 military men, mostly retired and active generals, have been placed under surveillance and about 30 of them jailed.
The investigation covers the four-month period that began with a meeting of the National Security Council on Feb. 28, 1997, and ended with the resignation of the coalition government of the time.
“The steps that need to be taken should be taken for this to be done and over with,” Erdogan said. “If these waves keep coming back to back, as they do, they will drown country.”
Erdogan, who was mayor of Istanbul at the time, was among the Islamist politicians targeted by the military as potential threats to Turkey’s secular constitution. The premier said he’ll decide whether to join the case against the officers once there is an indictment. Turkish law allows victims of a crime to take part in criminal lawsuits as plaintiffs.
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