All suspects in fourth wave of arrests in Feb. 28 probe in court

May 09, 2012, Wednesday/ 15:22:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

All 17 suspects, including retired and active duty military officers, for whom detention warrants were issued on Tuesday as part of a probe into the feb. 28 1997 unarmed military coup, were brought to court on Wednesday for interrogation.

Detention warrants were issued for 10 retired and six active-duty military officers and one civilian on Tuesday in the fourth wave of arrests as part of the probe. The suspects were detained after searches of their homes in nine provinces and taken to Ankara to be interrogated by the prosecutors overseeing the Feb. 28 investigation.

The suspects were still being interrogated by prosecutors, led by Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili, as Today's Zaman went to print on Wednesday evening.

The suspects underwent medical exams before their interrogation.

Thirty-nine people were arrested in the first three operations in the Feb. 28 investigation last month. Those sent to jail include retired Gen. Çevik Bir, who is known to have played a major role in the 1997 coup, and retired Gen. Erol Özkasnak, the secretary-general of the General Staff at the time. Özkasnak is known to have played a major role in the coup generals' communication with the media to put pressure on the government to resign.

Reportedly at the heart of the Feb. 28 investigation are the actions of the West Study Group (BÇG), which was established within the military to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds before and after the coup. Bir, the deputy chief of General Staff at the time, was the head of the BÇG.

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