All soldiers should obey assignments: Erdoğan
ISTANBULSpeaking after the controversial demotion of a top Turkish general who played a key role in defeating last year’s coup attempt and who later led a cross-border operation in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said soldiers should “obey assignments.”
“There can be no such concept as ‘disappointment’ in the military. Whatever task is assigned, a soldier should go and fulfil their duty there,” Erdoğan told reporters on Aug. 21 before departing on a trip to Jordan.
His comments came after question about media reports that Special Forces Commander Lieutenant Gen. Zekai Aksakallı, Special Forces Commander Lieutenant Gen is uneasy about his new assignment to a passive post and is considering his resignation. Aksakallı has been assigned as commander of the army’s 2nd Corps, based on the Gallipoli peninsula in northwest Turkey.
Aksakallı has completed his duty in Special Forces Command and the “relevant authorities” proposed his assignment to command the 2nd Army Corps at the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting, Erdoğan stated.
“He will continue this duty in the upcoming period,” he added.
The appointments that did not go into effect at the YAŞ meeting were announced in the Official Gazette on Aug. 19.
Special Forces Second Brigade Commander Ahmet Ercan Çorbacı was appointed to command the Special Forces Unit in Aksakallı’s place. With this appointment, the Special Forces Commandership, which is a lieutenant level position, was downgraded to a brigade level.
Aksakallı was a witness to the killing of anti-coup soldier Ömer Halisdemir, who has been idolized for his actions countering a raid on the Special Forces Command in Ankara on the night of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. He said in his initial statement after the attempted putsch that he ordered Halisdemir to kill Semih Terzi, believed to be one of the top coup plotters.
He was promoted to lieutenant general in a meeting of the first Supreme Military Council after the coup attempt, during which his actions made him a figure of national prominence.
Aksakallı led the Turkish military’s cross-border “Euphrates Shield” operation launched in August last year aimed at clearing the border zone in northern Syria of both Kurdish militia fighters and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).