Turkish police unearth explosives in coup probe

Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:46pm EST

ANKARA Jan 12 (Reuters) - Turkish police found several explosives and bullets in Ankara in a probe linked to coup plot allegations on Monday, the state Anatolian news agency said.

The police unearthed 30 hand grenades, nine smoke bombs and hundreds of G-3 rifle bullets in the garden of a deserted house in an Ankara suburb.

Some 40 people including army officers were detained this month in a case that has further tested relations between the Islamist-rooted government and the powerful military.

"It is obvious that these weapons were not hidden to be used against an invading army, but to be used for illegal activities," Radikal newspaper commentator Ertugrul Mavioglu said.

Eighty-six people, including retired army officers, politicians and lawyers, are on trial in the "Ergenekon" coup plot investigation, which has increased political tensions in the European Union candidate country.

The secularist establishment, which includes the military, judges and the state bureaucracy, says the governing AK Party is carrying out the arrests as revenge for a 2008 court case that sought to ban the party for anti-secular activities.

The AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam, denies this.

Turkey's powerful military has unseated governments four times in the past 50 years.



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