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Turkish police arrest 56 over alleged coup plot

[JURIST] Turkish police on Tuesday arrested 56 people charged with plotting to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website], including two retired generals. They were arrested [Reuters report] after the Istanbul prosecutor issued an indictment linking them to the Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder] group case. The group is allegedly responsible for bombing the headquarters of the newspaper Cumhuriyet [media website, in Turkish], assassinating Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink [BBC obituary], and planning other attacks to provoke a military coup to topple the AKP. Retired General Sener Eruygur and retired General Hursit Tolon were arrested last year but were released for health reasons.

Tuesday's arrests are the latest in a series of arrests related to the Ergenekon probe. Last week, a Turkish court ordered the arrest of Cumhuriyet [media website, in Turkish] journalist Mustafa Balbay and internet publisher Neriman Aydin for their alleged involvement the coup plot. There are currently more than 100 suspects in custody, with 40 arrested January 7, another 12 arrested January 12, and 30 arrested January 19. [JURIST reports]. The suspects include journalists, academics, army officers, policemen, and Turkish Workers' Party [party website, in Turkish] leader Dogu Perincek [JURIST report]. In October the High Criminal Court in Istanbul began the trial [JURIST report] of 86 defendants allegedly involved in the coup plot.

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