Discuss as:

Turkish media: Former military chief arrested in 'post-modern coup' case

Mehmet Ali Ozcan / Anadolu Agency via EPA

Former Turkish army chief Ismail Hakki Karadayi, center, is surrounded by police and journalists as they arrive at a court in Ankara on Jan. 3.

ISTANBUL -- Turkey's former armed forces chief was detained Thursday in an investigation into the military's role in the so-called "post-modern coup" of 1997, which pushed the country's first Islamist-led government out of power, local media reported.

On Thursday state prosecutors investigating the case ordered the arrest of Ismail Hakki Karadayi, chief of general staff from 1994 to 1998, Turkish television stations said -- the latest humiliation for the formerly all-powerful military.

April 2011: US ally Turkey flirts with Mideast's 'bad boys'

Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, who pioneered Islamist politics in Turkey, resigned in June 1997, months after the military-dominated National Security Council warned him over policies it perceived as undermining the secular constitution.

The episode was dubbed Turkey's "post-modern coup" as the generals used pressure behind the scenes to force Erbakan from power rather than the direct intervention employed in three outright coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was partly founded by members of Erbakan's Welfare Party after it was outlawed, has sharply curbed the influence of the military since coming to power in 2002.

It has launched investigations into coup plots by a military elite which long saw itself as guardian of the secular ideals of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish secular republic.

Read more about Turkey on NBCNews.com

More than 300 military officers were sentenced to jail in September for plotting to overthrow Erdogan almost a decade ago, while nearly 300 other people -- including politicians, academics, journalists and retired army officers -- are on trial, accused of orchestrating political violence.

More world stories from NBC News:

Follow World News from NBCNews.com on Twitter and Facebook