Turkish military: ‘No plot’

ANKARA – Turkey’s military denied yesterday the army had plotted to provoke Greek fighter jets into shooting down a Turkish military jet and said a newspaper report about such a plan had only served to heighten anxieties. The daily Taraf said the intention of the alleged plot, one of several reported in Turkish media in recent months that have added to strains between the secularist military and the government, was to discredit the Islamist-rooted government. It said the plot also had called for the army to plant bombs in mosques and museums in Istanbul to stir chaos. «It is our view that commenting on these allegations by taking them seriously and creating information pollution will only serve the aims of those trying to create anxiety within our society,» the military General Staff said on its website. Taraf, which said it had obtained 5,000 pages of documents and tapes, said the alleged «Sledgehammer» plan was designed to portray the ruling Justice and Development Party as unable to protect the public and to justify an army takeover in 2003. The military said documents quoted by the paper were part of a military training seminar but were never meant to be carried out and were not part of a conspiracy. The government has not commented on the report, which was published in a series appearing on Wednesday and yesterday. Investors are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for instability in a country where the military has ousted four governments in 50 years and which is now bidding for European Union membership, although markets yesterday did not to react to news of the latest alleged plot. The military, which has seen its once-formidable influence in public life wane as a result of EU-inspired reforms, has described documents backing similar stories in the past as fake, and says there is a smear campaign afoot.

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