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Terrorism charges: Verdict awaited in Turkey over plot to overthrow Government

The trial of more than 270 individuals who have been accused of conspiring to topple Turkey's Government should reach a verdict today, reports the BBC.

Believed to be driven by religious motivation, an uprising of so-called 'terrorists' have been charged with attempting to overthrow the Islamic AK Party Government (AKP).

Taking a strong stand against the group, the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has demanded the harshest of punishments for 64 of the accused: life imprisonment.

Among those facing the most serious charges is former army leader, Gen Ilker Basbug. He stands in the dock with many other ex-military officials charged with participating in this rebellion.

The tensions between the country's military and the AKP have been evident for many years. Since coming to power in 2002, the country's prime minister has overseen the arrest of a number of military officials. Seeing these officials as his primary opponents, Mr Erdogan has been keen to suppress any potential rebellion from the military, whose interests are known to lie in protecting Turkey's secular constitution. This is evidenced in the history of revolts led by the military against the AKP.

Defendants in the current trial regarding the 'Ergenekon' group's plot are faced with a range of charges. These include the basic charge of belonging to the rebellion group thought to be a terrorist establishment, holding weapons unlawfully and initiating a rebellion against the country's government.

Commenting on the case the BBC remarked: "Critics say there is little evidence for the charges and accuse the Government of trying to silence its secularist opponents. Critics have complained that the Ergenekon investigation has focused on opponents of the AKP, which has Islamist roots."

Although the Government contests that this is not the case, further opinions on both the Prime Minister and his power over legal proceedings will inevitably be drawn from the imminent verdict.