Top military leaders resign in Turkey

Almost all leadership level of Turkey military forces resigned from their posts days before the Supreme Military Council in the latest sign of tension between the country’s once dominant military and a rising religionist political elite

Turkey's Chief of Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner, right, shakes hands with his officers during a ceremony marking the 87th anniversary of the Turkish Republic at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Ankara, Turkey

Turkey's Chief of Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner, right, shakes hands with his officers during a ceremony marking the 87th anniversary of the Turkish Republic at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Ankara, Turkey

Almost all leadership level of Turkey military forces resigned from their posts days before the Supreme Military Council in the latest sign of tension between the country’s once dominant military and a rising religionist political elite.

The military brass, excluding the head of the gendarmarie, has resigned following a decision by top general Koşaner (L).

Turkey army’s leaders in command, including General Staff and the commanders of the Land , Air and Naval Forces late Friday from their posts amid an ongoing tension with the government over the increasing number of arrested generals. The mass resignations, which marked a first in Turkey’s history, immediately caused a state crisis.

Turkey Military Top Officials Resign

Head of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner, Land Forces Commander Gen. Erdal Ceylanoğlu, Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay and Naval Forces Commander Adm. Eşref Uğur Yiğit resigned from their posts days before the Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, supposed to meet to discuss key military promotions. Işık Koşaner had another two years left in the office.

Gendarmerie Forces Commander Necdet Özel remained as the sole commander of turkish military who did not quit his post.

The resignations occurred following events where a state prosecutor demanded the arrest of a top military official, Gen. Hüseyin Nusret Taşdeler, the commander of the Aegean Army. Sources informed debates over promotions and the arrests of many generals escalated to an unacceptable level following the court action against Gen. Taşdeler.

Turkey Army Forces : Resignings or Retirements ?

Head of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner stated “I resign my post as I deemed necessary.” Many turkish newspapers and news channels rescinded the report and described the top general’s departure as a “retirement.”

A Turkey Military Coup Called ”Sledgehammer” and ”Ergenekon”

Tensions between the military and the government have been tenecious in recent years as hundreds of high-ranking officers were put behind bars in the ongoing “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon (The name oh an ancient Turkish Saga) coup-plot cases.

Analysts say the resignings occurred about after Erdogan’s attempts to further bolster the civilian government’s control over the military following his party’s victory in the elections held in June.

It was not yet sure as of late Friday whether this year’s YAŞ, set to begin Aug 1., would take place as scheduled.

The apparent departures mark a important milestone in the political stage of Turkey. A North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and once-steadfast Western ally, Turkey has moved out from the shadow of nearly 80 years of domination by military figures under the nine-year reign of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, or AKP, led by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Balyoz is the code name for an alleged military coup plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, drafted in 2003. According to the coup allegations, the military planned drastic measures to provoke unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP government from power.

“Symbolically, it’s the end of the period of the military involvement in politics,” said Asli Aydintasbas, a columnist for the daily newspaper Milliyet. “They’ve been politically paralyzed. This is the symbolic move in which the military is defeated entirely.”

But even those opposed to the once seemingly impregnable power of the military in Turkey acknowledged that the mass resignations could entail severe political expenses for both the AKP and the country’s international reputation.

Turkey Politics : Severe Crisis expected

“Four of the five top military brass resigning from their post to protest the political authority — in any country this could create a problem,” said Mensur Akgun, head of foreign policy at the Turkish Economics and Social Studies Foundation, a think tank in Istanbul.

“It can lead to a political crisis, depending on the actions of the opposition parties. They can capitalize on this issue and put pressure on the government.”

“Symbolically, it’s the end of the period of the military involvement in politics,” said Asli Aydintasbas, a columnist for the daily newspaper Milliyet. “They’ve been politically paralyzed. This is the symbolic move in which the military is defeated entirely.”

But even those opposed to the once seemingly impregnable power of the military in Turkey acknowledged that the mass resignations could entail severe political expenses for both the AKP and the country’s international reputation.

“Four of the five top military brass resigning from their post to protest the political authority — in any country this could create a problem,” said Mensur Akgun, head of foreign policy at the Turkish Economics and Social Studies Foundation, a think tank in Istanbul.

“It can lead to a political crisis, depending on the actions of the opposition parties. They can capitalize on this issue and put pressure on the government.”

But others said they doubted the incident would harm the country’s international reputation.

“This is part of the normal democratization and normalization process of this country,” said Cengiz Aktar, a newspaper columnist and professor of social science at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul. “The military should go back to its barracks once and for all and obey the elected government of the country.”

Currently, authorities are holding dozens of military officers in jail on what critics describe as flimsy, politically motivated charges. More officers allegedly involved in coup attempts were accused this week. Analysts state the military elite level has been under constant pressure to fire those officers who remain in prison, pending trials or on conspiracy charges, even though they have yet to be convicted.

 

  1. Erdogan has stabbed a knife in the back of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

    Reply

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