- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A prosecutor in Istanbul launched an investigation Monday into the possible existence of a clique within the Turkish military capable of “obstructing” the government, the state-run news agency reported.

The prosecutor started the probe after the Hurriyet newspaper reported that the army headquarters was “disturbed” by a series of criticisms leveled at the military, including over a recent decision to allow female officers to wear Islamic-style headscarves while on duty, the Anadolu Agency said.

The newspaper reported over the weekend that the criticism was “wearing the military down” at a critical time when it is fighting Kurdish rebels and Islamic State militants.

Some interpreted the Hurriyet report to suggest that a clique within the military was unhappy with the way the military was being led.

Anadolu said the probe was launched after a university lecturer filed a complaint claiming the paper’s story demonstrated the continued presence of an “influential and active junta” inside the military.

The journalist who wrote the report was expected to be questioned by the prosecutor, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

Turkey’s military staged three coups between 1960 and 1980, and forced an Islamic-led government to resign in 1997.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gradually curbed the military’s influence since his party came to power in 2002.

However, another military coup was attempted in July. The Turkish government survived the failed coup by a faction within the military which the government said was loyal to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The cleric has denied he orchestrated the uprising. Turkey is seeking his extradition.

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