General Ilker Basbug was arrested and jailed on Friday near Istanbul, charged with trying to overthrow Turkey’s government. As Turkey’s former military chief – he retired in August 2010 – Basbug is the highest-ranking officer to become embroiled in the so-called Ergenekon case, a long-running crackdown on alleged dissidents within the country’s military and secular establishment.
Prosecutors allege that the hardline nationalist Ergenekon network sought to topple Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist government in 2003. This alleged coup plan, called “Sledgehammer,” is one of many allegations linked to the group. In total, some 400 people face charges.
Basbug is also likely to be charged with using military funds to prop up websites seeking to discredit the Turkish government.