Nineteen men are to face trial charged in connection with plans to assassinate two naval officers in what is alleged to have been part of a plot to trigger a military coup in Turkey.
The suspects were detained during an investigation into a so called “secularist network” said to be preparing to plunge the country into political chaos to provoke an army takeover.
Nine of the accused are themselves navy officers and their alleged targets were two senior admirals whose deaths would have caused outrage in military circles.
The arrests came soon after a cache of weapons was discovered during a probe into the activities of an army Lieutenant Colonel called Mustafa Dönmez who has been sentenced to four years in prison.
He is a key suspect in an ongoing investigation into an organisation known as Ergenekon which has the stated aim of overthrowing the regime of the ruling Justice and Development Party the AKP, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With multiple investigations underway into terror networks bent on destabilising the government, ministers may now decide it is time to act.
The military has long enjoyed an extraordinary protocol with the interior ministry, allowing it to take action in the provinces in the event of civil unrest without a request from the governor concerned.
Bringing the military under stricter parliamentary control would undoubtedly help Turkey’s bid to become a member of the European Union.