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Turkish prosecutors indict alleged coup plotters

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Prosecutors in Turkey filed charges Monday against 86 military and civilian suspects accused of plotting to overthrow the government. The case highlights the tensions between the Islamic-oriented ruling party and ultranationalist forces in military and intellectual circles, where there is deep suspicion of Islamic politicians.

A separate case is pending in the constitutional court against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If found guilty of subverting Turkey's secular system of government, the party could be dissolved and its leaders barred from politics. The two cases have become battlegrounds in Turkey's ongoing struggle between secular nationalists and Islamic-oriented politicians.

Turkey is a NATO member that in recent months has conducted air raids and sent troops across the border with northern Iraq to attack Kurdish militia opposed to Turkey's rule in its Kurdish-dominated southeast. It has a history of military takeovers that have weakened democratic institutions. This is one of the reasons its admission to the European Union sees delays. Some nationalists are opposed to joining the EU as it demands too many economic and political concessions.

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