- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2010

TURKEY

Prosecutors free 3 ex-military officers

ANKARA | Prosecutors released the former chiefs of the navy and air force and another top general late Thursday without immediately charging them with being involved in a purported coup plot to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government, saying they were unlikely to flee.

Twenty current and former senior officers, including five admirals and three generals, have been formally charged with plotting several years ago to topple Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, and ordered held in jail.

Adm. Ozden Ornek, the former navy chief, and Gen. Ibrahim Firtina, the former air force chief, are still being investigated, prosecutor Turan Colakkadi said. The prosecutors also released Gen. Ergin Saygun, ex-deputy chief of the military, but ordered him to report to the police regularly. All three could still be charged later.

Their release came hours after the country’s military chief, the president and the prime minister met to defuse tensions over the probe into the alleged military coup plot in 2003.

UKRAINE

Yanukovych sworn in, snubbed by rival

KIEV | New Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych vowed Thursday to create “a European state outside of any bloc,” but the crippling lack of consensus in his government was clear in the half-empty hall during his inaugural address.

Mr. Yanukovych took the oath of office in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, receiving a ceremonial scepter that he raised in triumph over the deputies in attendance. But members of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party snubbed the event.

Since his victory in a Feb. 7 runoff vote, Mr. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions has struggled to form a new coalition that could pass urgent reforms and oust Mrs. Tymoshenko, his political nemesis.

LIBYA

Gadhafi urges anti-Swiss jihad

BENGHAZI | Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi called Thursday for a “jihad” or armed struggle against Switzerland, saying it was an infidel state that was destroying mosques.

“Any Muslim in any part of the world who works with Switzerland is an apostate, is against [the Prophet] Muhammad, God and the Koran,” Col. Gadhafi said during a meeting in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi to mark the Prophet’s birthday.

Libya’s relations with Switzerland broke down in 2008 when a son of Col. Gadhafi was arrested in a Geneva hotel and charged with abusing domestic servants.

ALGERIA

Chief of police killed by colleague

ALGIERS | The powerful chief of Algeria’s national police, on the front line in the war against Islamist insurgents, was shot and killed by a colleague during a meeting Thursday at his headquarters, authorities said.

Two others were injured in the attack on Ali Tounsi, including a security chief for the Algiers region, a law enforcement official said. Mr. Tounsi’s attacker turned his weapon on himself after the shooting at the security headquarters, the Interior Ministry said. Reports differed over whether he survived.

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