Turkish court merges criminal cases

April 21, 2009 at 9:53 AM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 21 (UPI) -- A group accused of planning a military coup in Turkey and a suspect in a fatal court shooting are to be tried together, an Ankara criminal court decided.

Monday's decision by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court confirmed a December ruling by Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals, Today's Zaman reported Tuesday.

The courts said Ergenekon, the group alleged to have planned the failed 2007 coup, was linked to the killing of a judge and the wounding of two people in 2006 at the Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court.

Council of State Judge Yucel Ozbilgin was killed after ruling against a Muslim teacher's request to wear a headscarf.

Shooting suspect Alparsian Arslan allegedly confessed to the attack, saying said it was retribution for court rulings that upheld a ban on women wearing the Islamic headscarf in universities and government offices.

Arslan, who was in court Monday, was removed from the room after standing and yelling, "I will cut anyone into pieces who touches the headscarf. Go to Israel!"

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