Turkish military calls for respect for rule of law following verdicts

Aug. 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The Turkish military called for calm Tuesday following the sentencing of several retired generals to long prison terms.

The military, often identified by its Turkish acronym, TSK, said it shares the distress of relatives of those sentenced, Today's Zaman reported. Ilker Basbug, chief of the general staff from 2008 to 2010, received a life sentence with no parole at Monday's hearing for plotting to overthrow the Turkish government.

"We, the TSK, believe -- as required by our respect for the rule of law -- that the trial will be concluded in a fair manner within boundaries of the principle of fair trials," the statement said.

About 300 people were sentenced, including 19 who got life terms. Most of those receiving the heaviest sentences were senior retired military officers.

Prosecutors have already objected to some of the sentences, saying they should have been heavier, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Since 1960, the Turkish military has been involved in several coups, one of which ended in the 1961 execution of the country's first democratically elected prime minister, Adnan Menderes. The military also has a long tradition of secularism, which has strained relations with the government headed by the current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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