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Islamic militant on trial in Turkey denies plot to crash plane into Ataturk mausoleum

[JURIST] An Islamic militant on trial for treason Monday before a Turkish court denied involvement in a 1998 plan to crash an airplane into the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, expected to be crowded with visitors on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of his founding of the Turkish secular state. Metin Kaplan (BBC profile here), sometime called the Caliph of Cologne, head of a group called the Caliphate State which allegedly operated in both Germany and Turkey, was extradited to Turkey in October. During Monday's proceeding he read various verses from the Koran, noted that Islam means "peace" and insisted that "jihad" had several meanings other than "holy war." His trial has now been adjourned to April 2005, when liberalizing reforms to the Turkish penal code take effect. BBC News has more.

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