Ten people arrested over 'ex-admirals’ declaration' - live blog

The chief public prosecutor’s office in Turkish capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 14 admirals deemed to be behind the preparation and propagation of the declaration of admirals that stirred up discussions of military coups in the country since Saturday night.

Following up on the warrants issued on Sunday night, Turkish police has detained 10 admirals and ordered four others to turn themselves in within three days due to their advanced ages, the prosecutor’s office said on Monday morning.

Lawyer Celal Ülgen said the admirals had been detained in Istanbul and were taken to Ankara.

The detainees are “the persons who prepared the declaration and worked actively during its publication process, enabling others to sign the declaration”, the office said. “All suspects who were to be detained have been apprehended and detained, and searches and confiscations for all suspects have been conducted appropriately.”

The admirals will face charges of “conspiracy to commit crimes against the security of the state and the constitutional order”, it said.

Saturday’s declaration signed by 103 admirals condemned discussions of Turkey possibly withdrawing from the Montreux Convention, which regulates passage from the Bosporus and Dardenelles straits connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean and Mediterranean, while also criticising the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for steering the armed forces and the country away from secularism, over an active-service rear admiral’s visit to the leader of an extreme religious sect.

Government circles treated the declaration as a call for a military coup, targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and what they called the “will of the people”. AKP’s ally, far-right leader Devlet Bahçeli called for the removal of the admirals’ ranks and benefits, and opposition leaders expressed stances against military coups while accusing the AKP of attempting to divert attention from more pressing issues.

(All times local Turkish time, GMT+3)

22:00 - Lodging, security privileges of retired admirals revoked

The government has revoked the right to lodging and security of the admirals who signed a controversial declaration, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Monday. Ankara accuses the former officers of signaling an intent to commit coup against the state.

All 104 admirals will no longer have access to housing facilities and security assistance provided by the government, the agency said, citing security officials.

18:55 - Defence minister says declaration serves to decrease morale of armed forces

"The declaration issued by retired navy admirals on Saturday only serves to negatively affecting the moral and motivation of the Turkish Armed Forces,’’ Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as saying on Monday,

Akar also said the controversial declaration would work to make happy the enemies of Turkey, according to Yol TV.

18:50 - Opposition leader says detentions set bad precedent  

The leader of Turkey’s centre-right Good Party (İYİP) Meral Akşener said the detention of the ex-admirals over the declaration would pave the way for others to be taken into police custody, including those insulting the opposition and ruling party, Karar newspaper reported.

Akşener reiterated her condemnation of the declaration, but added that by choosing the route of detaining the signatories would lead to similar measures being used against "bureaucrats and opposition lawmakers.''

The İYİP leader on Sunday dismissed the declaration as “silliness,’’ adding that such statements usually recall “memorandums that interrupt Turkey’s democracy.’’

15:30 - Turkish army strips ex-admirals of rights

Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has moved to strip some pensioner rights of the retired admirals who signed Saturday’s incendiary declaration, daily Milliyet reported.

The signatory admirals will no longer be entitled to army housing or their personal bodyguards, the newspaper said, citing security sources.

14:20 - Unlawful, undemocratic interventions harm rule of law in Turkey - Council of State

Turkey’s Council of State joined top state bodies in condemning the ex-admirals’ declaration, with a statement calling out “discourse reminiscent of unlawful and counter-democratic attempts”.

“Interventions to the authority of sovereignty of state bodies harms democracy and the rule of law,” the highest administrative court in the country said in a statement on Monday. “Those who wanted to strike a blow to law and democracy in the recent past are now facing trial in accordance with the law,” it said.

13:00 - Turkish Court of Cassation denounces ex-admirals’ declaration

The president of Turkey’s Court of Cassation said the declaration signed by 103 ex-admirals on Saturday “targeted the will of the people”, and was “not based on any legal or constitutional authority”, in a statement released on Monday.

Such targeting of the will of the people was “unacceptable”, the top court said. It continued:

“Past events have shown that those who favour coups, memorandums and military tutelage were defeated with the vast insight and unmatched heroism of our nation.

“Any and all interventions on the security of the Republic of Turkey, its constitutional democratic order, or individual rights and freedoms will be dealt with accordingly by the judiciary that uses the authority to dole out judgement in the name of the Turkish nation in an independent and neutral manner, within the confines of the law.”

12:10 - Ten admirals detained in three provinces

Two retired admirals were detained in Ankara, two in Kocaeli, and six others in Istanbul on Sunday’s crackdown on signatories of a declaration against Turkey possibly withdrawing from the Montreux Convention.

Ex-admirals Ergun Mengi and Atilla Kezek were detained in Ankara, while Turgay Erdağ and Ali Sadi Ünsal were detained in the northwestern Kocaeli province. Six ex-admirals, Alaettin Sevim, Ramazan Cem Gürdeniz, Nadir Hakan Eraydın, Bülent Olcay, Kadir Sağdıç and Türker Ertürk, were detained in Istanbul.

All ten were brought to Ankara on Monday morning.