Turkish president downplays suspension of generals
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 11/25/2010 12:00:00 AM |
The suspension of three senior military officers for alleged involvement in the Sledgehammer coup case should not be exaggerated, Turkey's president has said.
The suspension of three senior military officers by two government ministers for alleged involvement in the Sledgehammer coup case should not be exaggerated, President Abdullah Gül said Thursday.
“The ministers took a step within the framework of the law. There is no need to exaggerate the issue,” Gül told reporters before his departure for Switzerland.
Interior Minister Beşir Atalay suspended gendarmerie Maj. Gen. Halil Helvacıoğlu on Monday and Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül did the same for Maj. Gen. Gürbüz Kaya and Rear Adm. Abdullah Gavremoğlu on Wednesday. The three officers applied to the military's Supreme Administrative Court to annul the decisions later Wednesday.
According to backstage rumors, the move sends a clear message from the government to the military that the path for promotions for the generals in question has been closed ahead of the Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, to be held on Nov. 30.
The Law on Turkish Armed Forces Personnel states that military officers who have been suspended cannot be promoted. The ministers suspended the three military personnel under Article 65 of the Law on Turkish Armed Forces Personnel.
The repercussions of the suspension of three senior military officers by Atalay and Gönül continued Thursday.
Asked to comment on the issue Thursday, Gönül cited Article 65 but declined to make any further comment on the suspensions.
Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin, meanwhile, criticized the main opposition party’s remarks that the move was a “civil coup” or “revenge.”
“The civilian will doesn’t initiate coups but elections,” Şahin said, adding that the move was in accordance with the law.
Akif Hamzaçebi of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said in a press conference Thursday that the suspensions lacked a legal basis and added that the move did not indicate democratization.
[HH] Gül plays down lack of attaché in Lisbon
Meanwhile, Gül also responded to rumors that a military attaché was not on hand to greet him when he arrived at the airport for last week’s NATO summit in Lisbon.
More than 50 statesmen visited Lisbon because of the NATO summit, Gül said, adding that the welcoming organization was arranged at the ambassadorial level.
“Our [country’s] representatives there and those who were assigned to the summit didn’t come either. It was not a kind of event which required the attendance of everyone,” Gül said.