[JURIST] Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday announced plans to investigate claims by Eskisehir Police Chief Hanefi Avci that evidence of several alleged coups plots, particularly Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], was fabricated. Avci alleged in a book he recently published, Devotee Residents of Halich: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation, that the evidence was distorted and fabricated [Sabah report, in Turkish] by followers of Islam preacher Fethullah Gulen [official website], in effort to weaken the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish]. Avci also claimed the Ergenekon trials were concocted by Turkey’s government to silence critics [Today’s Zaman report]. According to Turkey’s Minister of Interior Bashir Atalay, a decision about further action regarding Avci’s allegations will be made at the conclusion of the investigation [AA report, in Turkish]. While the prosecutor’s office is now investigating Avci’s allegations, Avci himself is the subject of a separate investigation [Hurriyet report] in connection with his book.
Over the last several years there have been a number of high-profile arrests of police and military officials over alleged coups in Turkey. The trial for 33 Ergenekon defendants opened [JURIST report] in June. In March, the Turkish government indicted the 33 defendants [JURIST report] on charges of attempting to overthrow the government and establish military rule. Earlier that week, Turkish police detained 20 people [JURIST report] in connection with the Ergenekon plot. In early March, Turkish prosecutors charged [JURIST report] an army general and a state prosecutor with belonging to Ergenekon and plotting to overthrow the AKP. In February, more than 40 military officers were arrested and charged in a separate coup attempt [JURIST report], the so-called Sledgehammer plot [Al Jazeera backgrounder], to provoke a military confrontation with Greece and take advantage of the ensuing chaos. Trials against the Ergenekon group started [JURIST report] two years ago and nearly 200 people have been charged in connection with it.