YAŞ and Şemdinli
This past weekend witnessed some very important developments.
Saturday’s news was the Supreme Military Council’s order to retire 55 generals and admirals due to a lack of vacancies in their positions. Forty of them are generals and admirals who are currently being held on coup-plotting charges.
It was not an easy decision to make, obviously. Under current laws an officer held under detention or arrest cannot be promoted in rank or appointed to new assignment. The military has 47 so-called “waiting posts,” that is, positions for an additional one-year period for those generals and admirals who have completed their waiting period in their ranks. The question was whether the council would use some of those 47 positions to keep the imprisoned generals and admirals in the military and thus preserve their prospects of being appointed to new posts next year, or would it choose to use those positions for active generals and admirals who are not in prison. What if those top commanders whose retirement has been ordered are acquitted of the coup-plotting charges? Done is done, they will not even have the chance to appeal and demand that their rights and ranks be restored. This is perhaps one reason why these thrilling cases are being prolonged. Those 40 former top commanders are already being summarily punished by being condemned to prison without a sentence, and now by having their military careers brought to an abrupt end.
Whatever the composition of the group may be, 55 generals will be ordered to retire. This must have been a very difficult and painful decision for the members of the YAŞ. It chose to use the available positions for top commanders who have so far remained out of prison. In view of the heightened security requirements in Turkey due to everything that has being going around the country, as well as the aggravated separatist terrorism problem in the southeastern region, no deficiency can be allowed in the army’s chain of command chain.
On Sunday, fire fell on the hearts of mothers and fathers once again. Scores of young men under arms, fulfilling their “duty for the homeland,” fell in defending the homeland against some other young men of this land who are trying through various heinous separatist terrorist methods to carve out for themselves a new homeland. The ruling Islamists of Turkey, who have been rather pleased by the “spring rise” of the Sunni Islamic Brotherhood in the neighborhood, are now growing worried because of developments in Syria, with the prospect of a Kurdish summer setting in and gripping Turkey as well.
Instructions carried to Mossoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to the effect that Turkey’s security is northern Iraq’s security, and any deficiency here will triple the impact there, fell on deaf ears. The top foreign policy chiefs of the ruling Islamists of Turkey reiterated their red lines once again to the Syrian Kurds, underlining that those elements that are in bed with the Turkish separatists are unwelcome. The separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) replied in besieged Şemdinli, and we have lost so many sons again.
Iraq is disintegrating, and its Kurds are enjoying increased autonomy; Syria is in the process of disintegration, and its Kurds control some towns. What about Turkey? The priority should be to resolve the Kurdish issue through concerted civilian and military efforts, but if the security letup continues there will be even more difficult days ahead.