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'Sledgehammer' hits another Turkish general

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'Sledgehammer' hits another Turkish general


Four star General Bilgin Balanli has been questioned and imprisoned as part of the ongoing investigation into the alleged Sledgehammer coup plot in 2003.

More than 200 current or retired members of the military, most of whom have been remanded, are accused by the ruling AKP of plotting to overthrow the moderate Islamist government the year after it came to power.

Balanli, commander of Turkey’s military academies, is the highest-ranking serving officer charged.

The case has increased the strains between Turkey’s secularist military and a ruling party with roots in banned Islamist movements as campaigning heats up for the June 12 election.

The Istanbul court ordered General Balanli be sent to jail pending trial on the recommendation of a prosecutor who questioned him for three hours on Monday, local broadcasters reported. Most of the defendants are held in jail near Istanbul.

The court released five other serving generals, two colonels and an admiral summoned for questioning on Friday after the seizure of documents at a retired colonel’s house.

Defendants say the documents presented by the prosecution were part of a war game scenario used in a military seminar and that other papers were faked.

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