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Turkish court orders 52 more suspects to stand trial for alleged coup plot

[JURIST] A Turkish court on Wednesday accepted an indictment [text, PDF, in Turkish] against 52 individuals accused of planning to overthrow the country's ruling Justice Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish]. The individuals are accused of belonging to the country's secular Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] group, which is suspected of involvement in bombings, political assassination plots, and the death of journalist Hrant Dink [BBC obituary]. Among the accused are three retired generals, including former chairman of the National Security Council Tuncer Kilinc [Hurriyet reports, in Turkish]. Also indicted was former police chief Ibrahim Sahin [Hurriyet report, in Turkish], who was involved in a 1996 corruption scandal. A trial date was set for September 7.

This will be the third trial in connection with the Ergenekon probe. Last month, a Turkish court began the trial of two former generals and 54 others suspected of planning to overthrow [JURIST reports] the government. The trial of 86 others [JURIST report] began in October 2008. The probe has been criticized as an attempt by the AKP to silence opposition and further their imposition of Islamic principles [DPA report; JURIST report] in violation of Turkey's secular constitution [text]. In June, police arrested 20 others [JURIST report] in connection with the alleged plot. In May, the Turkish government merged [JURIST report] a case against a lawyer accused of killing a judge with its case against Ergenekon. In March, a Turkish court ordered the arrest [JURIST report] of Cumhuriyet journalist Mustafa Balbay and internet publisher Neriman Aydin for their alleged involvement with the groups. There are currently more than 200 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].

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