Turkey will reshuffle army earlier than scheduled

Friday, 22 July, 2016 - 13:15

Turkey’s Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) is expected to meet next week to discuss the army’s restructuring in the aftermath of the failed attempted coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, hinting that a new echelon could be appointed to bring “fresh blood” to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

“They are all working together as to do what might be done and... within a very short amount of time a new structure will be emerging. With this new structure, I believe the armed forces will get fresh blood,” Erdoğan told to the press.

Erdoğan referred to the YAŞ meeting that was scheduled to meet in early August, during which the appointments, dismissals and retirements of high-ranking military personnel were to be decided. YAŞ meetings are held under the leadership of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and with the participation of Defense Minister Fikri Işık, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and other force commanders.

Erdoğan’s statement that the army will get fresh blood after the YAŞ meeting was interpreted as a major change to the military’s echelon, with a new chief of general staff and force commanders. Senior government officials openly admit that there were individual and institutional deficiencies in preventing the coup attempt and indirectly criticize the military leadership for not being able to control the army and the headquarters.

Gen. Akar, Land Forces Commander Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak and Air Forces Commander Gen. Abidin Ünal, who had been taken hostage by coup plotters on July 15, have not yet completed their mandate in their positions, while Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Galip Mendi and Naval Forces Commander Adm. Bülent Bostanoğlu are to retire in August.

Gen. Mendi has already left his position after the attempted coup due to health reason and was replaced by Lt. Gen. İbrahim Yaşar.