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Turkish authorities jail journalists over alleged coup plot ties

Three Turkish journalists allegedly involved with aiding the Ergenekon coup plot [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] were jailed Friday amid foreign concerns for the treatment of journalists within the country. Members of the Ergenekon plot allegedly planned to assassinate prominent members of Turkey's Christian and Jewish minority groups, blame Islamic terrorists for the deaths and use this to delegitimize the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website]. Soner Yalcin, the owner of Oda TV [media website, in Turkish], an online news website that has been critical of the Turkish government, and two of his colleagues were formally arrested [AP report] following several days of interrogations. The three were detained during a police raid [Bloomberg report] that followed an eight-month investigation by authorities. US officials have voiced concerns [statement] over the treatment of journalists in Turkey, while Turkish officials have warned other countries not to become involved in their domestic matters.

In June, a Turkish criminal court began the trial [JURIST report] of 33 retired and active naval officers accused of attempting to overthrow the government and establish military rule as part of the Ergenekon plot. The Turkish government indicted the 33 defendants [JURIST report] in March on charges of attempting to overthrow the government and establish military rule. Also in March, Turkish police detained 20 people in connection with the plot, and Turkish prosecutors charged [JURIST reports] an army general and a state prosecutor with belonging to Ergenekon and plotting to overthrow the AKP. The Ergenekon investigation has been criticized as an attempt by the AKP to silence the opposition and impose Islamic principles [JURIST report] on secular Turkey. Trials against the Ergenekon group started [JURIST report] two years ago and nearly 200 people have been charged in connection with it.

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