A shadowy right-wing group has gone on trial in Istanbul, accused of trying to topple Turkey’s elected government. Spme 86 people, including retired army officers, politicians, lawyers and journalists are charged with membership of a group called Ergenekon, whose aim is said to be to foment unrest to force the military to launch a coup.
The case involves what many Turks believe is a thriving ultra-nationalist body tied to the security forces, which is willing to take the law into its own hands to defend its view of secular Turkey.
Supporters of the accused insist they are innocent, claiming the real traitors are the government.
Staunchly-secular Turks accuse Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party of pro-Islamic ideals. The AK’s policies are rooted in political Islam, but it denies wanting to create an Islamic country.
Ergenekon came to light last year, when police discovered illegal weapons in a raid. Liberals hope the trial will reveal a network of hardline nationalists linked to a series of murders and bombings over recent years.