Page last updated at 22:10 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009

Turkish soldiers held in 'deputy PM assassination plot'

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc. File photo
Bulent Arinc said two officers had been spotted several times near his house

Eight Turkish soldiers have been detained over an alleged plot to assassinate Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, the army has said.

It said the soldiers were taken to the army headquarters in Ankara after being interrogated by a prosecutor on Friday.

The arrests follow an inquiry which was launched last week after Mr Arinc said a car with two officers had been spotted several times near his house.

The Turkish military denied being part of any plot.

It said the officers were investigating a military official living nearby.

The detentions come amid renewed speculation that there is mounting tension between the governing AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam, and the powerful armed forces.

The Turkish army sees itself as the guardian of the country's secularism.

Earlier this year, dozens of people, including two retired generals, journalists and academics, went on trial in Turkey accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Prosecutors argue that they were members of a shadowy ultranationalist network - dubbed Ergenekon - which allegedly aimed to provoke a military coup.

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