Outside the gates, supporters of Turkey’s ex-armed forces chief gathered. Inside Silivri prison, west of Istanbul, his trial was starting on terrorism charges.
Ilker Basbug rejects claims he led a shadowy network dubbed ‘Ergenekon’, behind a string of alleged plots against the government.
His appeal to have the case transferred to the Supreme Court was rejected, a ruling that is against the law, according to his lawyer Ilkay Sezer. Speaking of the specially-built tribunal in the top-security jail, he said: “I still believe this court is not authorised to try my client.”
Basbug was chief of staff from 2008 to 2010.
However, ever since it came to power in 2002, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK party, with its roots in political Islam, has been viewed with suspicion by the military. Turkey’s generals traditionally saw themselves as guardians of the country’s secular constitution.