Officials in Ankara in flurry of meetings
ANKARAPresident Abdullah Gül yesterday held a series of meetings with top officials, among them Turkey’s intelligence chief, amid a lingering controversy over the killing of 35 civilians in an air strike intended at Kurdish militants.
Gül’s unscheduled meeting with National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan followed his routine weekly meetings with Chief of Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç received the commanders of the land, air and naval forces, but played down speculation that the visit could be related to media reports of possible resignations among the military’s higher echelons.
“This meeting was planned in advance. I had visited them before to congratulate them on their new positions. They were simply paying a return visit. I thanked the commanders for their courtesy,” Arınç said on Twittter.
The daily Yeni Şafak reported yesterday that Land Forces Commander Gen. Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu and the head of the military academies, Gen. Aslan Güner, would resign if former chief of general staff İlker Başbuğ was arrested as part of a probe into allegations that the military sponsored websites to defame the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Başbuğ was scheduled to go to court today and tesify as a suspect in the case. The General Staff also issued a statement denying the report. k HDN