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Turkey rules out amnesty for jailed military officers

Deputy prime minister says army officers convicted of plotting against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government will remain behind bars.

Turkey army trials ergenekon 08 2013Enlarge
An Ergenekon prisoner being driven in a police armoured vehicle holds a protestor's hand on August 5, 2013, as police block access to a courthouse near Istanbul. The prisoner was one of 275 people accused of plotting to overturn the Islamic-leaning government. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey’s deputy prime minister said on Friday there were no plans to grant pardons for jailed army officers convicted of plotting to topple Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

The remarks by Bulent Arinc came a day after it was revealed that Turkey’s military had demanded a retrial for convicted officers, accusing the police and the judiciary of fabricating evidence in two separate cases.

“Nobody should have expectations for a general amnesty,” Arinc told reporters. “We have no such plans.”

He said however that the right to a fair trial should not be violated.

In 2012 and in 2013, hundreds of military officers including former army chief General Ilker Basbug were convicted and given long jail terms for plotting to overthrow the government.

The military, which considers itself the guardian of the republic’s secular principles, has waged three coups since 1960 and forced out an Islamist government in 1997.

But Erdogan has clipped the wings of the once-powerful military with a number of court cases since it came to power in 2002.

The army’s latest move comes amid a political crisis sparked by a high-level corruption investigation that has exposed a power struggle between Erdogan and loyalists of influential US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who wield influence in the police and the judiciary.

Erdogan’s top political advisor Yalcin Akdogan suggested last month that those who took action against the army were also those orchestrating the corruption investigation against key government allies.

More from GlobalPost: Turkey corruption scandal sparks anti-government protests

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/140103/turkey-rules-out-amnesty-jailed-military-officers