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Turkey Arrests 15 Military Officers in Probe of 1997 Coup

Turkish authorities arrested 15 military officers in connection with an investigation of the so-called postmodern coup of 1997, when the army pushed an Islamist-led coalition government out of power.

The jailing of active and retired officers, including 11 generals, followed a fourth round of raids May 8, when the special prosecutor’s office in Ankara placed 17 members of the armed forces under surveillance, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

At least 43 serving and retired members of the military have been arrested and many more placed under watch in the investigation of a 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.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was Istanbul’s mayor at the time and counted among the Islamist politicians targeted by the military as a potential threat to Turkey’s secular constitution, criticized the probe after the fourth wave of detentions, saying it is “unsettling” the public.

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