Turkish Army disclaims resignation reports on key meeting day

Turkish Army disclaims resignation reports on key meeting day

Turkish Army disclaims resignation reports on key meeting day

PM Erdoğan (R) convenes the Supreme Military Council. The General Staff has rejected claims over a top air chief’s resignation, saying he simply sought retirement. DHA photo

The General Staff has released a statement confirming that an air force general has left his post, on the same day that the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) convened civilian and military leaders for a three-day meeting.

News reports on the promotion of certain generals, as well as on a series of army resignations in protest at cases involving senior officers, prompted the General Staff to issue a statement disclaiming the reports. It did not, however, completely deny them.

“Some news reports claimed that three generals from the Air Forces Command resigned from their posts, and that their resignations were related to the ongoing court cases concerning the Uludere incident,” the statement read.

“The Uludere incident” refers to the Uludere massacre of December 2011, in which 34 civilian villagers were killed in an air strike near the Turkish-Iraqi border after being allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as they smuggled goods from northern Iraq into Turkey.

The statement confirmed that Lt. Gen. Nezih Damcı of the Air Force had submitted his petition for resignation, underlining that he had taken this action “of his own will.” It added that the resignation had been approved and stressed that Damcı’s resignation demand had no relation with “the incidents” cited in news reports.

The General Staff was referring to news reports suggesting that Damcı was irritated about being targeted by pro-government newspapers for his reported involvement in the Uludere massacre.

Apart from Damcı, there was no other general who had demanded resignation from the Air Forces, the General Staff statement added.

News reports had cited the name of Maj. Gen. Atilla Öztürk from the Air Forces, saying that he had also filed his resignation.

The situation of more than 20 generals and admirals who are currently on trial in the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Seldgehammer) coup plot cases and a military espionage case, or who are subject to investigations concerning unknown murders, will be reviewed at the three-day YAŞ meeting. Retirement is likely to be the solution these members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will resort to at the YAŞ meeting.