Turkish military mulls major restructuring
Uğur ERGAN ANKARA / Hürriyet
According to unnamed sources, the Land, Navy and Marine Force Commands will be removed and a joint command will be formed under the General Staff. DAILY NEWS PhotoA long-planned restructuring of the Turkish military was given a green light with the latest meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) meeting on April 30.
According to a statement released after the meeting, which was led by President Abdullah Gül, measures to be taken against “structures threatening national security” were the top item on the agenda.
However, the statement also added that the president was “informed about the defense reform in accordance with the country’s needs regarding the developments in regional and global security.”
According to unnamed sources, the Land, Navy and Marine Force Commands will be removed and a joint command will be formed under the General Staff, in order to have all three work in better coordination.
In another move, the “Aegean Army” in İzmir and the “Third Army” in Erzincan will be lifted, as the East and West armies will be formed. The “First Army” in Istanbul will be added to the West Army, including the Aegean Army, and the “Second Army” in Malatya will be turned into the East Army, and will include the Third Army.
The reform will also include changes to the gendarmerie. A new unit, similar to Germany’s federal border guards, the Bundesgrenzschutz, will be formed in accordance with European Union norms, under the gendarmerie.
The Army will also consider technologic developments in the adoption of new weapons. It will also try to rejuvenate its personnel: Generals and admirals’ four-year periods for promotion will be lowered by three years, while for colonels it will be decreased from five to four years.
The Navy will be reinforced in the Mediterranean, as its forces are located in areas close to armed conflicts (the Middle East) and natural energy resources. The Air Forces will also shift to focus more on space technologies and electronic warfare.