Chronology: Turkey

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See also Iraq, Regional Affairs

July 18: Turkey extended a controversial smoking ban to include all bars, cafes, and restaurants. Turkey was one of the world's heaviest smoking countries, and the existing ban on smoking in public places had not been thoroughly enforced. [BBC, 7/18]

July 20: The Ergenekon case resumed in Istanbul in a new courtroom near Silivri Prison. Fifty-six suspects were indicted, including two generals for whom the prosecution sought multiple life sentences. Nineteen of the suspects were under arrest, 36 made bail, and one escaped arrest. [Zaman, 7/20]

July 21: Three naval lieutenants were arrested on charges of attempting to assassinate admirals involved in a sex and drugs scandal. The defense raised an objection after the officers were arraigned without their attorneys present. The three were arrested after police raids found hidden caches of explosives, drugs, and maps believed to be part of the plot to assassinate the admirals. [Zaman, 7/21]

Prosecutors submitted the third indictment of the Ergenekon trial, indicting 52 people. Thirty-seven suspects were still under arrest. The indictment was submitted to the Istanbul Higher Criminal Court, a civilian court that was in the process of trying other Ergenekon suspects. [Zaman, 7/21]

July 24: Police detained 165 alleged members of the illegal radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir across 23 provinces in Turkey. Police seized arms, documents, and the group's promotional materials. [Zaman, 7/24]

July 26: Two alleged members of the pro- Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) were found dead in Cizre in Sirnak province. The mayor of the village claimed that the men had been killed by a group of village guards because of their supposed connections to Kurdish separatism. [Hurriyet, Zaman, 7/26]

July 28: The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HYSK) reached a compromise wherein judges and prosecutors involved in the Ergenekon trial remained in their positions, but those suspected of mishandling the case would be investigated. Additionally, the board appointed Istanbul Vice- Chief Public Prosecutor Olcay Seckin to the Ergenekon case with powers and authority equal to the current head of the prosecution. The deal came after three weeks of deadlock on the board and between the board and the Justice Ministry. [TDN, 7/28]

Aug. 6: Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Ali Sahin was elected as the new Speaker of Parliament with 338 votes. The first rounds were inconclusive, because Sahin had not been able to secure enough opposition votes. He succeeded Koksal Toptan as Speaker and was set to preside over the legislative year beginning in October. [Zaman, 8/6]

Aug. 7: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an agreement permitting construction of a Russian gas pipeline that would pass through the Turkish portion of the Black Sea. The Russian pipeline's chief threat was the European Union's backing of an alternative pipeline that would supply Europe with gas from Central Asia via Turkey without Russian involvement. [The Guardian, 8/7]

Sept. …