Journalists detained in Turkish raids

March 4, 2011 at 11:19 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 4 (UPI) -- Turkish police held 10 people, including journalists, as part of an investigation of a group accused of plotting to overthrow the government, officials said.

Police raided homes and offices of 11 people Thursday, copying computer files and seizing materials that could be used as evidence in the investigation into Ergenekon, Today's Zaman reported. The 11th person could not be detained because he was out of the country, officials said.

The detainees, seven of whom are journalists, are suspected of belonging to Ergenekon, an alleged ultra-nationalist organization, accused in arrest warrants of "seizing and publishing confidential state documents" and of "inciting hatred and enmity in society."

Interior Minister Besir Atalay said security forces were carrying out the orders of the judiciary, Today's Zaman said.

"This is a decision by the judiciary. Judicial bodies ask police (to carry out searches)," Atalay said. "On such occasions, the police comply with the orders coming from the judiciary."

The arrests are the latest in a years-old investigation into alleged plots to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government after he came to power in 2002, The New York Times reported. Dozens of current and former military personnel, intellectuals and politicians have been arrested for various plots prosecutors claimed were conducted under Ergenekon's purview.

Critics countered the investigation devolved into a pretext for punishing government opponents.

Erdogan said Thursday the case would proceed in accordance with the law.

"Regarding today's detentions -- as we've always said, these are not things that happen upon our orders," he said. "The only thing I want to say is that these processes should be concluded as soon as possible."

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