Two more officers arrested in Turkey's 'Sledgehammer' probe

Tue 07 Jun 2011 01:15 GMT | 05:15 Local Time

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Two more officers arrested in alleged coup case in Turkey.

The lawyer of the highest-ranking active-duty military officer charged with plotting to overthrow the government apllied to a court Monday to revoke his arrest while two more military officers were arrested in the ongoing probe.

Col. Ahmet Erdem and Col. Ahmet Dikmen were arrested and sent to Hasdal Prison on accusations of plotting a coup. The arrests bring to 15 the number of soldiers who have been jailed pending trial as part of the 'Balyoz' (Sledgehammer) probe into the alleged coup plot.

The lawyer of War Academies Commander Gen. Bilgin Balanlı, who was arrested last week as a part of the same investigation, applied to an upper court Monday seeking his release. Gen. Balanlı is currently under treatment at the Gulhane Military Academy Hospital, or GATA, in Istanbul's Haydarpasha district.

Air War Academy Commander Maj. Gen. Ismail Tash, is also under arrest.

The latest wave of arrest surrounding the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, are based on documents reportedly seized in February from a house that belonged to Col. Hakan Buyuk. A member of the intelligence branch of the TSK, Col. Büyük has already been arrested on charges of plotting a military coup.

The new evidence regarding the case, according to police reports, consists of written documents, video files and digital material on a flash disk, and includes plans to be put into action if the alleged coup attempt were to fail.

Of the TSK’s approximately 300 active-duty generals, 30 are under arrest on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

More than 160 soldiers – both active-duty and retired – are in prison pending trial on suspected links to the alleged coup plans.

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Monday that Air Force Intelligence Director Gen. Mehmet Yılmaz Erdogan resigned in April, daily Hurriyet reported.

Military sources claimed Erdogan’s resignation came as a result of the exposure of information about his private life on the Internet.

It was not confirmed whether the resignation was a reaction to recent targeting of the Air Force. Another unconfirmed claim said Erdoğan had problems with Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay.

Military officials refrained from commenting on the issue.

The Turkish Air Force Command has recently become the military wing with the most resignations. Two generals resigned in 2007 and two more stepped down in 2009.

Air War Academy Commander Maj. Gen. Sinan Shanlı and Maj. Gen. Levent Turkmen, the number two of the First Tactical Air Force Command conducting the most critical operations in the Aegean including 'dog-fighting,' both resigned.

Hurriyet Daily News



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