Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a stern warning to the armed forces, saying that “nobody is above the law” and less than two hours later, there was a second wave of arrests of military personnel, involving 18 officers ( of which one was retired ) in 13 cities.
One of the military servicemen is the commander of the gendarmerie in Konya, the central Anatolia city. Erdogan’s statement came within hours of the announcement by ICTY, this morning, a further 11 senior military officers accused of plotting against the state, a 2008 plan to oust the government’s Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Speaking at a meeting of his party, Erdogan – referring to the alleged conspirators – said “those who secretly make plans to crush the will of the people must realize that from now on they will face justice. No one is above the law. No one can enjoy impunity.”
The prime minister took exception with what he called “the owners of newspapers” for comments that appeared today in editorials of various newspapers around the summit yesterday between Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Chief of Staff Element to defuse the crisis between the government and military. The crisis raged for months, but worsened after the arrest last Monday of 49 senior members of the armed forces. Erdogan especially stigmatized those columnists whose comments, he said – would damage the country’s image and therefore its economy.
This morning, a court in Istanbul indicted and imprisoned 11 other officers accused of involvement in the alleged plot, code-named ‘Balyoz’ (hammer, hammer). The Court’s decision came just hours after the release last night, of the former Commander of the Turkish airforce, retired general Ibrahim fyrtyna, and former Marine commander, General Ozden Ornek, also a pensioner.
It was not disclosed whether fyrtyna and Ornek may face charges in addition to conspiracy against the state, but we know for sure prosecutors decided to release them, convinced they will not try to escape. At present, four days after the raid on Monday and today, 28 people were indicted and imprisoned, 16 were released, 18 are under arrest in police stations, while five are still waiting to be questioned by judges investigating.