Turkey rejects request for release of former army chief
ANKARA - A Turkish court rejected on Tuesday a request by former army chief Ilker Basbug, who was convicted last year in a mass trial over an alleged coup plot, to be released from jail.
It was the first such ruling since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this month he would not oppose the idea of possible retrials for hundreds of military officers jailed for plotting to topple his Islamic-leaning government.
Erdogan's stance was seen as a dramatic turnaround to try to get the military on his side in his damaging feud with an erstwhile ally over a sweeping corruption probe that has rocked his government.
The army has demanded a retrial for convicted officers, accusing the police and the judiciary of fabricating evidence in two separate cases.
In 2012 and in 2013, hundreds of military officers including Basbug were convicted and given long jail terms for plotting to overthrow the government.
The mass military trials succeeded in reining in the powers of the armed forces, which waged three coups in Turkey since 1960 as self-declared guardians of the secular state.
Erdogan's government has been deeply shaken by the wide-ranging corruption scandal, which erupted last month and has ensnared some of the prime minister's closest allies.
Erdogan has accused exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, once a key supporter of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), of instigating the corruption probe through loyalists in the police and judiciary.