Turkey’s top defense procurement chief removed from office

Turkey’s top defense procurement chief removed from office

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s top defense procurement chief removed from office

German soldiers stand to attention in front of a German Patriot missile launcher at the Gazi barracks in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey on March 25. AFP Photo

The chief of Turkey’s procurement agency was removed from his post on March 28 following the sensational leakage of a recording of a top national security meeting that has raised concerns about the level of espionage against the Turkish state.

Murad Bayar, the chief of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), was removed from office in order to be appointed to another post, according to a decision by the Defense Ministry which went into force after it was published in the Official Gazette early on March 28. The decision was signed by President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in addition to Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz.

The decision, however, did not include the name of Bayar’s successor.

Bayar, who was picked by Erdoğan for the post in 2004, became Turkey’s longest-serving official overseeing multibillion-dollar programs at the national procurement agency.

Bayar and his institution made headlines after Turkey announced in September 2013 that it had chosen China’s FD-2000 missile-defense system over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and U.S.-listed Raytheon Co. – at the cost of severe reaction from its NATO allies.

According to reports, Bayar himself requested to leave the post, and he may be appointed as the top advisor to Gül.

Still, the posting is likely to spark speculation due to its timing, coming just a day after the leaking of a recording of top security officials discussing possible ways to incite war with Syria on the video-sharing site YouTube.

The account posted what it presented as a recording of intelligence chief Hakan Fidan discussing possible military operations in Syria with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and other senior officials.