Turkey military ‘coup suspects’ forced to retire
Turkey’s top military council on Saturday ordered the retirement of dozens of generals and admirals who are currently being held on charges of coup plotting, the army announced on its website.
Fifty-five generals and admirals are required to retire due to a lack of vacancies in their positions and one admiral due to age limit as of September 1, the army said in an online statement.
Among them were 37 generals and admirals in detention in connection with several probes into alleged plots to topple the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, media reported.
The latest announcement comes as the Supreme Military Council (YAS) began its annual meeting on Wednesday to discuss promotions and dismissals within the army. The decisions were made public Saturday after being approved by the president.
Veteran journalist Fikret Bila said the retirement of arrested generals and admirals was the government’s preference.
“We see the government’s preference being implemented,” said Bila speaking to the private NTV television.
“Some of the arrested generals might be released amid the ongoing trials but the decision on their retirement shows they are being dismissed from the army before the cases are concluded,” he commented.
The order for retirement is considered the latest blow to Turkey’s beleaguered officer corps who are the target of a series of probes launched in recent years into past military interventions and coup plots.
Hundreds of suspects, including several senior retired and active duty officers, are separately being tried over their alleged role to topple the Islamic-rooted government.
The trials are widely seen as part of effort by the current Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to roll back the military’s influence in politics.
The Turkish army, which sees itself as the guarantor of Turkey’s secular principles, overthrew three earlier administrations in 1960, 1971 and 1980.
And in 1997, it pressured an Islamic-leaning prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, to step down. Erbakan was the political mentor of Erdogan.