Turkey dismisses military association board over alleged support for ex-admirals’ declaration

The Turkish interior ministry has dismissed the board of the Turkish Retired Military Officers Association (TESUD) over their alleged support for a declaration issued by over 100 retired admirals, a statement that government officials tied to Turkey's history of military coups.

The board of TESUD was found to be in support of the declaration by the former top navy officers, who expressed their commitment to Montreux Convention, T24 news site reported on Tuesday.

On April 8, Turkish authorities launched an investigation into the TESUD after the association said during a meeting with Defence Minister Hulusi Akar that it had failed to condemn the declaration signed by 104 former admirals.

The declaration, issued on April 3, denounced the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for “opening up for discussion the Montreux Convention” and for Islamising the army over an active-service rear admiral’s visit to the leader of an extreme religious sect.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office announced on April 4 that an investigation had been launched on the admirals and the declaration. Ten of the signatories were arrested on April 5 for having organised the writing of the declaration and for organising others to sign the document. The arrested ex-admirals were later released on probation on April 13.

The ruling AKP has said the declaration was a challenge to civilian government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the retired soldiers of “hinting at a political coup.”