A Turkish court on Monday (August 5) sentenced a former military commander to life in prison and dozens of others including opposition members of parliament to long terms for plotting against the government, in a case that has exposed deep divisions in the country.
Retired military chief of staff General Ilker Basbug was sentenced to life for his role in the "Ergenekon" conspiracy to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Announcing verdicts on the nearly 300 defendants in the case, the judges also sentenced three serving parliamentarians from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to between 12 and 35 years in prison.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy and journalist Mustafa Balbay was sentenced to 34 years and eight months in prison.
Prosecutors say an alleged network of secular arch-nationalists, code-named Ergenekon, pursued extra-judicial killings and bombings in order to trigger a military coup, an example of the anti-democratic forces which Erdogan says his Islamist-rooted AK Party has fought to stamp out.
Critics, including the main opposition party, have said the charges are trumped up, aimed at stifling opposition and taming the secularist establishment which has long dominated Turkey.
Presented by Adam Justice