Resignations a shadow over Turkish military meeting

Resignations a shadow over Turkish military meeting

Resignations a shadow over Turkish military meeting

The four-day meeting of the Supreme Military Council, presided by the prime minister, will begin on Aug.1. DHA photo

Resignations of top commanders from the Air Force are in the pipeline, a news report suggested, a likely source of uneasiness before the four-day the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting to be presided over by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Aug. 1.

The promotions of more than 20 generals and admirals who are on trial in cases such as the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Seldgehammer) coup plot cases and a military espionage case or are subject to investigations concerning unknown murders will be reviewed at this YAŞ meeting. Retirement seems to be the solution these members of the TSK will resort to at the YAŞ meeting.

Daily newspaper Sözcü published July 28 an interview with former Navy Adm. Nusret Güner, who broke his silence months after his resignation, which had been accepted in late January. During the interview, Güner got his feelings of resentment off his chest as he made clear that his resignation was a reaction particularly against the rulings in the Balyoz coup plot case as well as charges against military members involving an alleged military espionage gang.

Sözcü reported July 29 on a fresh resignation. According to Sözcü, Lt. Gen. Nezih Damcı submitted his petition for resignation and went on leave. Damcı has particularly been annoyed about being targeted by pro-government newspapers for his reported involvement in the Uludere tragedy of December 2011, when 34 civilian villagers were killed in an air strike near the Turkish-Iraqi border, allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as they smuggled goods from northern Iraq into Turkey.Rumor has it that Maj. Gen. Atilla Öztürk has also resigned, Sözcü reported, however, noting that this resignation could not be confirmed. Still, new resignations are likely to come, according to what Sözcü learned.

Balyoz suspects

In the interview, Güner made clear that the Sept. 21, 2012 Balyoz case ruling that sentenced 331 of the 365 suspects to prison terms was the main reason leading him to resign. Some 250 of the Balyoz defendants have been under arrest during the three years the case has continued, including opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Engin Alan, former Air Force Gen. Halil İbrahim Fırtına, former Navy chief Adm. Özden Örnek, 1st Army chief Gen. Çetin Doğan and other high-ranking retired generals.

An appeal began at the Supreme Court of Appeals July 15 and is still underway as the judges have been doing an appellate review of the case with 361 defendants. The appeal trial is not expected to end before the end of the YAŞ meeting. Likewise, the Istanbul 13th Court for Serious Crimes is expected to finalize the Ergenekon case and draft its ruling Aug. 5, after the end of the YAŞ meeting. Meanwhile, at a session on July 29, Ali Fahir Kayacan, attorney to former Lt. Gen. Korcan Pulatsü, said his client’s career was damaged due to the arrest.