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Turkish Prosecutor Stops Latest Wave Of Army Arrests

Istanbul chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin
Istanbul's chief prosecutor has intervened to prevent Turkish police from detaining up to 90 more military officers in connection with an alleged 2003 military coup plot.

Aykut Cengiz Engin told reporters today he had replaced the two junior prosecutors who had ordered the burst of detentions on April 5 across 14 provinces.

Engin said the two prosecutors had been given a "change of duties" while "the operations have been suspended as the newly assigned prosecutors need some time to study the files."

He gave no further details but press reports say up to 18 retired officers were detained before Engin's order went out.

Since February, several waves of arrests of senior military figures have taken place, with most subsequently freed on bail pending indictments.

The probe into the alleged coup plan began in February when police arrested dozens of serving and retired officers, including former commanders of the navy and air force.

Engin's action today illustrates the tensions between Turkey's secular-minded senior judiciary and more junior prosecutors said to have sympathies with the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party.

compiled from agency reports