7 Jan 2012

Former armed forces chief held in custody

5:15 am on 7 January 2012

A former head of the Turkish armed forces has been remanded in custody to face charges over an plot to overthrow the government.

General Ilker Basbug, who retired in 2010, is the highest-ranking officer to be caught in a widening probe into the Ergenekon network.

Prosecutors say in 2003 the group tried to bring down the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

General Basbug rejects the accusations. Some 400 others are already on trial.

He was taken to Silivri prison in Istanbul early on Friday morning

The BBC reports the Ergenekon trial is one of several involving accusations of anti-government plots by the military and secular establishment.

Some military officers already charged in the case have said they acted in a chain of command.

Three coups were staged between 1960 and 1980 and the military has a history of tension with the governing AK party.

Correspondents say the general was more sympathetic to the governing party than his predecessors.