Ilker Basbug (file photo)
Source: Press TV
The former chief of the Turkish military has been charged with trying to stage a coup against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The former chief of the General Staff, Gen. Ilker Basbug, is under indictment for "seeking to unseat the government of the Republic of Turkey by force", Today's Zaman reported on Thursday.
The indictment was submitted to the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court.
Since the rise of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) following their landside victory in the 2002 parliamentary election, tensions between the military and the government has risen and some generals have been convicted of crimes.
Basbug, the highest-ranking Turkish military figure indicted so far, denies the charges.
"The person who is accused of these charges is the 26th chief of General Staff of the Turkish Republic. I think it is important to note this for history… As the chief of General Staff, I was the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces. The [Turkish military] is one of the most respected and strongest armed forces in the world. Accusing somebody who led such an army of establishing and administering a terrorist organization is really tragicomic," he said.
On January 5, Turkish prosecutors arrested Gen. Ilker Basbug -- who was the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces until 2010 -- on charges of plotting against the state.
The Turkish military has staged major coups in 1960, 1971, and 1980.
About 300 military officers are held in detention on charges of conspiracy against the government.
The officers reject the coup allegations, saying that the evidence against them is fabricated.