Turkish ex-army chief dimisses trial

2012-03-27 13:03

Silivri - Turkey's former armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug said on Tuesday he would not defend himself against terrorism charges, describing the allegations against him as a "comedy" and calling for his trial to be heard by the supreme court.

Such a trial of a top military figure would have been unthinkable before Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan took on the power of a military that had dominated Turkey for decades.

Basbug, accused of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government, told the court he had no respect for the indictment, saying the allegations were against the Turkish armed forces and were a serious insult to the state.

"I regard it as an injustice to the Turkish Armed Forces and the rank which I held in it to make a defence in your presence. Hence I will not defend myself and I will not answer any questions," Basbug said to applause from around 40 spectators in the court.

Basbug, chief of staff in 2008 - 2010, is accused of being a leader of a shadowy network dubbed Ergenekon, behind a string of alleged plots against the government of Erdogan.

Ergenekon is accused of planning campaigns of disinformation, bombings and assassinations to stir panic and precipitate an army coup.