Court orders second arrest of Gen. Alan in Feb. 28 investigation

October 22, 2012, Monday/ 17:36:00

An Ankara court ruled on Monday to arrest retired Gen. Engin Alan, a jailed deputy of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as part of an ongoing investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military coup.

Alan was arrested and put behind bars in February 2011 in a separate case. He was a prime suspect in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot, which allegedly sought to undermine the government and lay the groundwork for a military takeover. Alan was sentenced to 18 years in prison last month.

The retired general, a former special forces commander, was transported from Silivri Prison in Turkey to the Ankara Courthouse on Monday afternoon to testify to the prosecutor overseeing the probe into the Feb. 28 coup. Security measures were heightened in and around the courthouse. He testified to the prosecutor as a “suspect” in the investigation. Alan was also accompanied by his lawyer. Alan reportedly told the prosecutor that he did not play any role in the staging of the Feb. 28 coup. "I was fighting the [terrorist] Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] at the time. I do not acknowledge any of the accusations made against me," the retired general reportedly told the prosecutor.

However, the prosecutor referred Alan to a court in Ankara for arrest. The court complied and arrested the retired general for "attempting to destroy the Republic of Turkey." After the court's decision, Alan was taken back to Silivri Prison in İstanbul.

On Feb. 28, 1997, the powerful military forced a coalition government led by the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP) to step down on the grounds that the party was stirring up religious fundamentalism in the country.

Alan was nominated as a candidate for deputy by the MHP in last year's general elections. Even though he was elected to Parliament in the June 12, 2011 elections, a court ruled against his release from prison to take his seat in Parliament.

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