Turkey has widened its investigation of an attempted military coup against the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.
The nation witnessed prior coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980.
Middle East Newsline says, so far, about 150 people, many of them military officers, have been prosecuted on charges of participating in the alleged coup.
Critics of Mr. Erdogan have countered the investigation was meant to neutralize the secular opposition.
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“The judicial bodies are authorized to deal with those who commit crimes,” Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazici said.
On Monday, Turkish police arrested the dean of a leading university in connection with the so-called Ergenekon group. In all, 18 people were arrested, including two former university deans.
“Turkey is on the right track,” Mr. Yazici said.
The Turkish General Staff has expressed concern over the arrests. So far, the military has not directly intervened in the investigation.
The Turkish government is also targeting the head of a Turkish secular group, the Ataturk Thought Association, with branches throughout the country and organizer of anti-government demonstrations in 2007. The home of Ataturk Thought Association chairman Mustafa Yurtkuran has been searched as part of the more than year-long investigation.
“This is an operation against the intellectuals of this country,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, an opposition leader in parliament, said.
Turkey plays a key strategic role as a member of NATO and is a neighbor of Iran.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com