A Turkish prosecutor has linked a shadowy group the government suspects of being coup plotters to the 2007 murders of three Christian missionaries, media reports said Saturday.
The three members of a Bible publishing firm, including a German national, were tortured and killed in April 2007 in the eastern town of Malatya. Nine people are already on trial for the murder, of whom six are in jail.
The prosecutor in Malatya has filed a bill of indictment against 19 other people, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Heading the list is former general Hursit Tolon, a key figure in investigations into the so-called Ergenekon network — a shadowy group the government has blamed for a variety of violent acts.
Turkish authorities accuse the ultra-nationalist network of being behind several plots to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The 761-page indictment accuses Tolon of “heading a terrorist organization” and also names retired colonel Mehmet Ulger, Anatolia said.
It says other cells linked to the organization were involved in the 2006 murder of Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in the northeastern city of Trabzon and the killing of a journalist of Armenian descent, Hrant Dink, the following year in Istanbul.
In both cases, the killers were given lengthy sentences and judges ruled out organized crime being behind the murders.