Erdoğan restructuring Turkish military in second redesign since failed coup - columnist

The results of last weeks Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting are part of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans in a second wave of restructuring of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), Ahval columnist Zülfikar Doğan wrote.

YAŞ, the committee that decides the promotions and retirements of top generals and is chaired by Erdoğan, met last week and signed off on decisions that include purges and restructuring of the armed forces, through appointments, drastic expulsions, detentions, arrests and trials of military personnel.

Some of the eyebrow raising decisions made by the committee include the complete absence of lieutenant generals being promoted as generals; the retirement of generals who have not completed their years in service, and army commands being placed under the control of lieutenant generals instead of generals, Doğan wrote.

The foundations for last week’s decisions were laid through a new military law approved in June, according to Doğan.

Erdoğan on June 25 signed off an a law making sweeping changes to the Turksish military system, cutting mandatory military service period in half, as well as making paid military service permanent.

Accordingly, the period of conscription is reduced from 12 months to six months for private and non-commissioned soldiers.

“It is difficult to defend that the decisions of the MGK and YAŞ are not political in an arena where the Treasury and Finance, as well as Education ministers are members of  the National Security Council (MGK),’’ Doğan said.

The Ahval columnist also pointed to the insignificance of the opposition in standing against proposed, which calls for a special military unit assigned to the president, comprised of those who have not performed their military service.

The MGK, comprised mostly of members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), will not be affected by attempts to block decisions, Doğan said.

At this time, Turkey has entered its second purge in the military, following that which arrived on the heels of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

Radical changes were made to structure of the  TSK and many military schools were shut down following the failed putsch of 2016. Some 170 generals and around 7,000 other senior military officers were arrested as part of the crackdown.

“The military is being further redesigned, this time through appointments, retirements and promotions’’ Doğan said.