Turkey to name new top military leaders amid coup cases

Turkey's Supreme Military Council meets to discuss the status of 11 generals and admirals, for whom arrest warrants have been issued under the Sledgehammer coup case.

Turkey to name new top military leaders amid coup cases

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's Supreme Military Council (YAS) convened on Sunday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the General Staff HQ in Ankara.

Capital Ankara had busy hours prior to the YAS gathering during which to discuss the status and actions to be taken regarding the 11 generals and admirals, for whom arrest warrants have been issued under the Sledgehammer coup case.

President Abdullah Gul held separate talks with Prime Minister Erdogan and General Staff Chief Ilker Basbug. Gul held a meeting lasting more than 3 hours with Erdogan in Istanbul, while he received Basbug in capital Ankara. Moreover, acccused officers gathered to discuss the promotion decisions to be assessed at the YAS meeting.

The 10th High Criminal Court ordered the re-arrest of 102 suspects, including two former force commanders.

But none of the suspects has not surrendered to police yet for more than a week.

The suspects who will now be arrested include retired Gen. Cetin Dogan, retired force commanders Halil İbrahim Firtina and Ozden Ornek, retired Adm. Feyyaz Ogutcu and former Deputy Chief of General Staff Ergin Saygun.

The indictment in the Sledgehammer plan mentions 196 suspects and names retired Gen. Dogan, the former head of the 1st Army, as its prime suspect. Among other things, the indictment provides details of plans by coup instigators to cooperate with certain terrorist organizations to accomplish their ultimate goal, a coup.

No promotion for suspects?

The Council convened to make a series of new appointments within the Turkish army and to assess retirements of several military members.

The status of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel to retire or to be promoted to a higher rank will be discussed during the council's regular meeting.

Generals and admirals to be promoted to a higher rank and colonels to be appointed as generals and admirals will be determined during the gathering that will reshape TSK's command chain, officials said.

Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug and Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Atila Isik are reaching the end of their terms of office as of August 30, 2010. Accordingly, new names are expected to be appointed to the posts that will become vacant upon Basbug and Isik's retirement.

Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner is expected to be assigned as Turkey's new General Staff Chief during the YAS meeting. If selected, Kosaner will carry out such post for 3 years.

During the gathering, new names will also be appointed as the head commanders of Turkish Land Forces and Gendarmerie Forces. On the other hand, Naval Forces Commander Admiral Esref Ugur Yigit and Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay will carry on with their duties for one more year.

During the YAS meeting, retirement of 134 generals and admirals will be discussed, nearly 35 generals and admirals will be promoted to a higher rank and 45 colonels will be appointed as generals and admirals, officials noted.

The decisions to be taken at the council meeting will be made public after they are presented to President Abdullah Gul on August 4.

Turkish media said, the arrest warrants will affect the appoinments of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) meeting, which is scheduled to be held in early August. Military officers whose names are mentioned in the document will not be eligible for promotion at this year's YAS meeting.

TSK official policy does not allow the promotion of a military officer if he is on trial. “A military staff member who is imprisoned or is still being tried cannot be promoted,” stipulates Article 65 of the Law on TSK Personnel.

Sledgehammer is a suspected coup plot created in 2003 at a military gathering with the intent of overthrowing the ruling AK Party government.

According to the plan, the military was to systematically foment chaos in society through violent acts, among which were planned bomb attacks on the Fatih and Beyazıt mosques in Istanbul. The plot allegedly sought to undermine the government and to lay the groundwork for a military takeover.

Related news reports:

Turkish court rejects coup case appeals, no surrender for days

Turkey's army chief, PM unexpectedly meet "over coup suspects"

Turkish court orders re-arrest of Sledgehammer plot suspects

Turkish indictment: Coup plotters offered PKK cooperation

Turkish court accepts indictment on Sledgehammer coup case

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Ağustos 2010, 11:54