Turkey’s military council convenes for second time in less than a month
REUTERS photoThe Turkish government has announced the country’s military council will convene on Aug. 23, for the second time in less than a month, to likely focus on the status of hundreds of colonels and other ranking military personnel as part of the continued purge of Gülenists from the army after the July 15 failed coup attempt.
The Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) will convene on Aug. 23 in its new shape, after the government increased the number of civilian figures in the body in order to control appointments and dismissals within the army.
Sources from the Prime Ministry’s Office announced on Aug. 22 that the YAŞ would be convened under the leadership of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım with the participation of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and all force commanders, as well as Turkey’s defense, foreign, interior, justice and deputy prime ministers.
The composition of the YAŞ was changed through a decree law in recent weeks as part of measures to increase the civilian authority in a bid to avoid future coup attempts.
The YAŞ met in late July and decided to expand the mandate of the top military echelon, except for Gendarmerie Forces Commander Galip Mendi, who retired due to the age limitation. Akar, Land Forces Commander Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak, Air Force Commander Gen. Abidin Ünal and Navy Forces Commander Adm. Bülent Bostanoğlu have remained in their positions, despite their negligence in preventing the coup attempt.
The traditional appointment system was also changed through the decree law, which allowed the government to appoint any general or admiral as the chief of general staff. Another decree law also changed the status of force commanders and linked them to the Defense Ministry instead of the Prime Ministry, while the chief of general staff remained subordinate to the office of the prime minister.
Defense Minister Fikri Işık had earlier announced that another council meeting would take place in August to review the cases of hundreds of colonels and decide on appointments and dismissals.
Thousands of high-ranking military personnel, including around 200 generals, were suspended from the army on the grounds that they had links with the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which was blamed for the coup attempt.