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The trials of Turkey’s legal system

The AKP-Gulen conflict spills over into the retrial of the Ergenekon case.
Protesters are blocked by Turkish soldiers as they try to march to a court house near Istanbul December 13, 2012. Thousands of Turkish secularists protested outside a court near Istanbul on Thursday against the trial of nearly 300 people charged with attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government. Security forces wielded batons and fired pepper spray to keep crowds behind barricades in front of the courthouse at the sprawling Silivri prison complex, where dozens of the de

For foreigners, it must be quite discombobulating trying to understand how two distinctly separate legal battles may end up influencing the outcome of the other. It’s not any easier for locals as well to grasp the moment, but this is Turkey — that is what makes it interesting.

Not long ago, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was proud to assert himself as the “prosecutor” of a series of trials all linked to Ergenekon, defined as a terrorist organization aimed at bringing down his government. More than 200 current and military officers have been convicted and given long prison terms. Until December, Erdogan and his party members were jubilant in their arguments proclaiming how much these trials helped to end the military tutelage in the country and how much it helped to strengthen the country’s democracy.

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