[JURIST] A Turkish court ordered the arrest of Cumhuriyet [media website, in Turkish] journalist Mustafa Balbay Thursday for his alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website]. Balbay was arrested [Hurriyet report] along with internet publisher Neriman Aydin as part of the ongoing probe into secular group Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder]. The Ergenekon probe has been criticized as an attempt by the AKP to silence opposition and further their imposition of Islamic principles [Ha'aretz report; JURIST report] in violation of Turkey's secular constitution [text].
The arrests of Balbay and Aydin are among many others related to the Ergenekon probe. There are currently more than 100 suspects in custody, with 40 arrested January 7, another 12 arrested January 12, and 30 arrested January 19. [JURIST reports]. The suspects arrested include journalists, academics, army officers, policemen and Turkish Workers' Party [party website, in Turkish] leader Dogu Perincek [JURIST report]. These arrests came after the October trial [JURIST report] by the High Criminal Court in Istanbul for 86 defendants allegedly involved in the coup plot.