Turkish General Staff put under Defense Ministry
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 15 issued new presidential decrees, making a number of structural changes to important state councils, bodies, and ministries.
Under the decree, the Turkish General Staff will be fall under the Defense Ministry.
On July 9 Erdoğan appointed Hulusi Akar, then-chief of General Staff, defense minister under the new presidential system.
Erdoğan told reporters at the time that such a change was an option, stressing it was one of the requirements of the EU from Turkey in the accession process.
“We will evaluate this with our friends under the new system. It’s not true to have a dual management. We now have to find a way to this. I am sure we will resolve this,” he stressed.
Relations between Akar and his successor Gen. Yaşar Güler as well as Land Forces Commander Gen. Ümit Dündar are very strong and sincere, Erdoğan said, ruling out any suspicion over their ties.
“We got rid of the civilian-military division. Ties between the Defense Ministry and Turkish Armed Forces will be based on solidarity. There will be no division in the decision-making processes.”
The new decree also restructured Turkey’s Supreme Military Council (YSK), which decides on appointments in the military, and the National Security Council (MGK), the top security body that plays an advisory role.
The council will meet at least once a year as convened by Turkey’s vice president, who is appointed by the president. The president will convene the council when necessary, said the decree.
Members of the council will include Turkey’s vice president or vice presidents, its treasury and finance minister, and its education minister.
The MGK will meet once every two months as summoned by the president, under the decree, and if the president is unable to attend, he or she will be represented by the vice president.
July 15’s decree also appointed new rectors to six universities in Turkey.
Also under the new decree, three bodies -- the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA, Turkey’s development aid agency), the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), and the Foundations Directorate General -- will fall under the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) now falls under the Interior Ministry, according to the decree.
Last month’s elections marked Turkey’s transition to an executive presidential system of government, doing away with the prime minister’s post, among other changes. The changes had been ratified in an April 2017 constitutional referendum.
President Erdoğan was re-elected on June 24 after receiving 52 percent of the votes in the first round.