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Turkey indicts secularists for alleged coup plot

[JURIST] Turkish prosecutors indicted 86 alleged members of the secular Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder] group Monday for allegedly attempting to destabilize and overthrow the country's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website]. The group is believed responsible for bombing the headquarters of the newspaper Cumhuriyet [newspaper website, in Turkish], assassinating Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], and planning other attacks to provoke a military coup to topple the AKP. The suspects will be tried under Turkey's anti-terror laws. Among those indicted were journalists, intellectuals, and Turkish Workers' Party [party website, in Turkish] leader Dogu Perincek [personal website, in Turkish; JURIST report]. Chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin said that those arrested more recently [JURIST report] for ties to the group, including two former generals, will be separately indicted once an investigation into their alleged involvement is completed. AP has more. Hürriyet has local coverage.

Critics allege that the AKP has improperly investigated secular groups as part of a drive to impose Islamic principles [Ha'aretz report] in violation of the country's secular constitution [text], and that the link between the group and the alleged plots is weak [Hürriyet op-ed]. In March, Turkish Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya petitioned the country's Constitutional Court to disband the AKP [JURIST report] for allegedly working to undermine the nation's secular principles.

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