Ankara: The Turking government on Monday arrested 10 retired admirals after the publication of an open letter signed by hundreds of former officers criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s project to build a canal in Istanbul that, in their view, could threaten freedom of navigation.
Turkey detained the 10 admirals after 104 of them signed a letter warning of a possible threat to the government’s agreement on the use of Turkey’s main waterways.
The Ankara Prosecutor’s Office stated that the ten former admirals were placed in custody pending investigation, and that four other former officers were not arrested due to their age. They have however been asked to appear before the Ankara police in the next three days.
The suspects detained as part of the operation include Ergun Mengi, Atilla Kezek, Alaettin Sevim, Ramazan Cem Gürdeniz, Nadir Hakan Eraydın, Bülent Olcay, Kadir Sağdıç, Türker Ertürk, Turgay Erdağ and Ali Sadi Ünsal.
An investigation was launched into the retired military personnel who signed the letter on charges of “meeting against the security of the state and the constitutional order,” according to the Attorney General’s office. On Sunday, senior Turkish officials condemned the letter signed by more than 100 retired admirals, warning of the threat, in their view, that the “Istanbul Canal” project , backed by Erdogan, might pose to an agreement guaranteeing freedom of passage in the Bosphorus.