Turkish Court Convicts More Than 300 Officers Over Coup Plot

September 21, 2012
A Turkish court has convicted about 330 military officers on charges of plotting to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The court sentenced three former generals, including the former air force and navy chiefs, to life imprisonment over the alleged 2003 plot.
It said they would serve only 20 years because the conspiracy failed.
More than 320 other retired or serving officers also were convicted, with some sentenced to as long as 18 years in prison.
Thirty four were acquitted.
The "Sledgehammer" conspiracy allegedly involved plans to bomb mosques in Istanbul and trigger conflict with Greece to pave the way for an army takeover.
The defendants denied the charges, saying the alleged plot was a planned military exercise.
The Turkish Army staged three coups between 1960 and 1980.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP