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Turkish government arrests 20 more in connection with Ergenekon coup plot

[JURIST] Turkish police detained 20 people Thursday in connection with the alleged Ergenekon [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] conspiracy to overthrow the Islamist-rooted government. Among those arrested [Reuters report] are retired and active military officers, but the identities and ranks of the individuals have not been released. The arrests are part of an ongoing operation to investigate the Ergenekon conspiracy by the ruling Justice Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish], which is currently at odds with the secular-rooted military and judiciary. More than 200 people have been arrested in connection with the Ergenekon conspiracy.

Earlier this month, Turkish prosecutors charged [JURIST report] an army general and a state prosecutor with belonging to Ergenekon. The AKP is also investigating another alleged coup plot, the "Sledgehammer," led by high-ranking military officials. In February, Turkish President Abdullah Gul [official website, in Turkish], Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug [official profile], met in Ankara [JURIST report], to discuss tensions over that alleged coup plot. Hours after that meeting, a Turkish court released three high ranking military officials that had been detained for questioning. Tensions in Turkey between the military and government have harmed Turkey's bid to join the European Union (EU) [official website]. Turkey's secular nationalist establishment, including the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) [official website, in Turkish], has long been at odds with the AKP.

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