Turkey's YAS debates disputed promotions of coup suspects

First day meeting left disputed promotions of coup suspect generals to next days.

Turkey's YAS debates disputed promotions of coup suspects

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Supreme Military Council, Turkey's highest military decision-making organ, has convened on the second day of its annual gathering amid arrests warrants under an investigation into an alleged coup plan known publicly as "Sledgehammer".

First day meeting left disputed promotions of coup suspect generals to next days.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is presiding the meeting at the General Staff Headquarters in Ankara.

During the four-day meeting, the new command echelon will be determined.

11 generals who are among suspects of the Ergenekon, Cage and Sledgehammer coup probes, expect "promotion" from the Supreme Military Council.

Crisis over suspected generals?

Turkish media suggested that "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan objected to those promotion of general suspects, but the military insisted." "The crisis could not be overcome during the first day debates."

President Abdullah Gul had met with General Staff Chief Gen. Ilker Basbug and PM Erdogan before the meeting.

Media said, Gul told military head that "it would be wrong to promote the suspects who were about to be arrested."

Two of 11 general suspects got promoted in the meeting, decisions on other 9 suspects will be made on Monday.

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.

Military officers whose names are mentioned in the document will not be eligible for promotion at the 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.

The decisions made by the council will be made public after being submitted to the Presidential Office for approval on August 4.

However, media said, Turkish President may reject some YAS decisions on the appoinments of suspected generals in coup probes.

"New military head"

The Council was set to appoint General Isik Kosaner, current head of the land forces, as head of the armed forces. The government was not expected to object to this appointment.

Regarded as a staunch secularist, Kosaner also previously served as head of the paramilitary gendarmerie forces. He will replace General Basbug at the end of August.

Kosaner will oversee the campaign against an upsurge in PKK attacks.

He has rarely spoken publicly about issues like "Sledgehammer", and his words will be closely scrutinised.

University professor Ihsan Dagi, who is married to an AK Party deputy, said the promotions process gives the impression of going beyond a change of military command.

"This is partly true, simply because generals do not only command troops but lay a claim to commanding Turkey," Dagi said in a column in Today's Zaman.

He said that Erdogan and the defence minister did not have a significant influence on the decisions of the military-dominated 15-member council, where decisions are taken by majority vote.

Related news reports:

Turkey to name new top military leaders amid coup cases

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ağustos 2010, 16:40