WAR.WIRE
Turkish army generals sue Islamist writer for defamation
ANKARA (AFP) Oct 31, 2003
More than 300 Turkish generals Friday sued an Islamist columnist for defamation after he described the army top brass as ostentatious and incompetent, the Anatolia news agency reported.

In a collective application, 312 generals -- among them the heads of the land and air forces, the navy and paramilitary forces -- demanded 624 billion Turkish lira (422,000 dollars, 360,000 euros) from Asim Yenihaber and the Vakit newspaper for which he writes.

"No one has the right to comment in such a degrading and belittling way about the high-ranking commanders of the Turkish armed forces," the plaintiffs said.

According to excerpts from the August 25 article quoted in the application, Yenihaber wrote: "There is nothing to show that they are generals apart from the stars on their shoulders."

He also allegedly said: "There is no place for them neither in the army, nor in this country ... They will be powerless in the face of a real enemy, they will be swept away."

Turkey's Islamists and the powerful army, the self-declared guardians of the Muslim nation's secular system, have been arch-enemies for decades.

The military, which sees political Islam as a major threat to Turkey's stability, has restlessly cracked down on Islamist movements and in 1997 ousted from power the country's first Islamist-led government.

WAR.WIRE