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Trial Starts For Alleged 1997 Turkey Coup Plotters

Former Turkish Army chief General Ismail Hakki Karadayi arrives at a courthouse in Ankara in January.
A trial has started in Ankara for 275 people accused of plotting to oust a pro-Islamist government in 1997.

Those on trial include 81-year-old former army chief General Ismail Hakki Karadayi. Proceedings are expected to last several months.

The alleged conspirators are accused of helping to topple the then-government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, head of the Islamist-oriented Welfare Party, in February 1997.

Erbakan's government was forced to step down in favor of a new civilian government after a meeting of the National Security Council.

The Welfare Party was later outlawed.

Karadayi and his co-defendants deny any part in the alleged army interference in politics.

They accuse the current Islamist-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of trying to silence its secularist opponents.

Based on reporting by AP, BBC, and Al-Jazeera