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ANKARA — A former Turkish military chief accused of leading an Internet campaign as part of an alleged conspiracy to topple the Islamic-rooted government rejected the allegations Tuesday as “a comedy of incompetence.”

On the second day of his trial in Istanbul, Gen. Ilker Basbug said the charges brought against him were attempts to discredit the armed forces and declared that he would not defend himself or answer questions in court, the state-run news agency reported.

Gen. Basbug, who was arrested in January, is the most senior military officer to be prosecuted in a series of terrorism probes that began in 2008 and that have netted hundreds of suspects, many of them retired and active-duty military officers.

The government has defended the probes, which have stripped the military of its political clout, as steps toward enhancing democracy, but suspicions of score-settling, long imprisonments without verdicts and other lapses have tainted the legal process.

Gen. Basbug faces life in prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. The charges stem from allegations that the military funded dozens of websites aimed at discrediting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in 2009 as part of alleged efforts to topple his administration.


Maoist land mine kills 12 paramilitary police

NEW DELHI — Maoist rebels ambushed a patrol team in central India on Tuesday, killing at least 12 paramilitary policemen, a police official said.

The policemen were traveling through a densely forested area of Maharashtra state when the rebels set off a land mine, blowing up their vehicle, the official said.

Another 28 policemen were wounded in the powerful blast, he said.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

They frequently target police and government officials, whom they accuse of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor.

The rebels are now present in 20 of India’s 28 states and have an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to the Home Ministry. Thousands of people - including police, militants and civilians - have died in the violence in recent years.


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