Turkey names new army commanders one year after coup attempt

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-03 09:53

Turkey names new army commanders one year after coup attempt

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signs to approve decisions of the Supreme Military Council at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

ANKARA - Turkey on Wednesday replaced its top three military commanders - the army, navy and air force chiefs, a year after a coup attempt that shocked the NATO country.

The changes were made during a meeting of the Supreme Military Council, which discusses the appointments and retirements of high-ranking staff officers, as well as removal of military personnel.

The fight against the Fethullah Gulen movement, who alleged masterminded the failed coup that killed nearly 250 people the night of July 15th, 2016, was expected to be one of the main issues to be discussed at the session.

Prime minister Bilani Yildirim and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a six-hour meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday prior to the critical meeting, reported TV channels.

According to the decisions at this meeting, the Chief of General Staff, General Hulusi Akar, who was spectacularly held hostage during the coup attempt by plotters, will stay on duty until 2019, as expected.

Land forces commander, General Salih Zeki Colak, Naval forces commander Admiral Bulent Bostanoglu and Air forces commander, General Abidin Unal, have been changed and replaced by other high-ranking generals, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters after the meeting.

General Yasar Guler, former commander of the Gendarmerie, has been appointed Land forces commander; Vice Admiral Adnan Ozbal has been appointed Navy commander and Hasan Kucukakyuz is the new Air Force commander, Kalin said.

In lower-level reshuffles, 61 colonels have been promoted as general, indicated by a statement released by the Ministry of National Defense.

The Turkish military is undergoing a comprehensive post-coup restructuring process. For the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the July 15 coup attempt was a humiliation from which it will take a long time to recover.

It showed unmistakably that the network controlled by the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen infiltrated massively the military organization in past decades despite warnings by military and civilian authorities.

The Turkish Armed Forces, the second biggest in number after the United States in NATO, used to be the most trusted institution in Turkey. But that was before rebel soldiers fired at civilians resisting the putsch and national institutions were attacked by helicopters and fighter jets.

Almost 4,500 officers have been dismissed from the TSK since the coup attempt. Among these are almost half of the generals and admirals previously serving in the armed forces.

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