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Turkish police arrest 6 former military officials involved in 1997 coup

Turkish police on Tuesday arrested six former military officials for their involvement in the 1997 coup which led Turkey's Islamist-led government to resign. The six officials were among the 10 suspects prosecutors included in their arrest warrants. They have been charged with participating in forcing the resignation of Necmettin Erbakan [NYT profile], an Islamist prime minister. Erbakan was a member of the Islamic Welfare Party [UNHCR backgrounder] when he was elected. Tuesday's arrests come after Turkish prosecutors ordered [JURIST report] the arrest of former military leaders for their alleged role in the coup earlier this month.

The 1997 coup was the fourth of the military coups occurred in Turkey overthrowing sitting governments within 40 years. In April, the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court began its trial [JURIST report] of the last two surviving leaders of Turkey's 1980 coup, former general Kenan Evren [official profile] and former air force commander Tahsin Sahinkaya. The coup led to three years of military rule, during which 50 people were hanged and half a million arrested. The trial came after the court accepted the indictment against the two officials in January based on charges pressed [JURIST reports] by the prosecution a week earlier.

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