Turkey’s army chief-of-staff and the entire military command have resigned in a row with the government over promotions for generals held in an alleged anti-government plot, media reported Friday.
General Isik Kosaner stepped down after several meetings in recent days with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ahead of an early August meeting of the army’s high command which decides on promotions for senior officers.
As well as Kosaner, the commanders of the army, air force and navy also quit, NTV and CNN Turk reported, which is unprecedented in Turkey. The resignations have plunged Nato’s second biggest military into disarray.
However, CNN Turk also quoted the prime minister’s office as saying the generals were not resigning but going into retirement. State-run Anatolian news agency reported Kosaner as resigning “as he saw it as necessary”.
The Supreme Military Council is due to hold a major meeting next week to discuss key appointments and President Abdullah Gul and Erdogan met Kosaner on Friday to discuss the matter.
Friction between the government and military has been fuelled by an ongoing trial targeting dozens of senior military officers accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
The authorities are holding 42 officers, including several generals, as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Several of those held are already retired. But senior officers in the army had been trying to get some of the serving officers promoted, despite their incarceration.
The government insisted that they be forced to retire.
Now members of the high command who stepped down on Friday have themselves asked for early retirement, the Anatolia news agency
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2011.
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