This is part of the investigation into what is known as the military’s “post-modern coup” of Feb. 28, 1997 – in which the precursor to Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) was eventually banned on charges of anti-secular activity. Modern Turkey was founded on the principle of secularism; the AKP today describes itself as a conservative democratic party. It sprang from the Islamist movement.
The “February 28” trial is the latest in a series of legal probes of the Turkish military by an AKP-friendly judicial branch.
The infamous “Ergenekon” trial, which began in 2008, has turned into a massive legal undertaking consisting of several cases. More than 250 people – including generals, politicians, academics, rights activists, journalists, and even students – are being investigated on charges that they belong to a clandestine terror network intent on overthrowing the government of Erdogan’s ruling party.
“Sledgehammer” is another case in which hundreds of retired and active officers are being investigated over an alleged 2003 coup plot against the AKP government.
Hundreds of retired and active officers are being investigated as a part of these investigations. More than 180 of them are in pre-trial detention, including the former chief of the Turkish armed forces, former chiefs of the Navy and Air Force, and several high-profile generals and admirals. More importantly, around 60 active generals and admirals are behind bars, making up more than 19 percent of the Turkish military’s top brass.