Friday’s resignation of so many top commanders for the first time ever signals a deep rift with the government and comes after a court charged 22 suspects, including several generals and officers, with carrying out an Internet campaign to undermine the government.
From Reuters: The head of the Turkish armed forces General Isik Kosaner along with the heads of the ground, naval and air forces have resigned, broadcaster CNN Turk reported on Friday. (photo: Reuters)
UPDATE from AFP: General Isik Kosaner stepped down after having met with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan several times in recent days ahead of a meeting of the army’s high command which decides on promotions for senior officers. . . .
Senior officers in the army had been trying to get the imprisoned officers promoted despite their incarceration, but the government has insisted that they be forced to retire.
UPDATE from Marc Champion, the Wall Street Journal: In a sign of the confusion surrounding Gen. Kosaner’s move, Anadolu Ajansi initially reported that the country’s top military official had resigned "because he deemed it necessary," before printing a correction and saying he had submitted a request for early retirement. . . .
Gen. Kosaner’s decision came after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul on Friday morning, as they prepared for a semiannual four-day session of the military’s joint military-government council, known by its acronym YAS, next week. The YAS decides all senior military appointments.
UPDATE from Hurriyet: The Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, is to meet on Monday.
Other soldiers are expected to be promoted so that that the council can convene.
UPDATE from Zaman: All the commanders except Koşaner were already set to retire on Monday. . . .
Gendarmerie General Commander Gen. Necdet Özel, who is the only commander who did not request retirement, came to the Prime Ministry to meet with Erdoğan late on Friday.
UPDATE from Bloomberg: Turkey’s lira currency weakened as much as 1.3 percent to 1.6991 per dollar in Istanbul, heading for its biggest drop in a week. Bond and stock markets were closed. . . .
”Things look chaotic,” Suha Yaygin, deputy chief of emerging markets at Toronto-Dominion Bank in London, said in e- mailed comments. “There’s never been such a thing in the history of Turkey. The lira could fall below 1.70 again.”
UPDATE from Umit Bektas, Reuters: Alongside Kosaner, the land forces head Erdal Ceylanoglu, air forces chief Hasan Aksay and navy commander Ugur Yigit have also sought retirement, the reports said.
UPDATE from Al Jazeera: Later on Friday, television channels reported that Gul approved the appointment of General Necdet Ozel as the new commander of the country’s ground forces. . . .
He was expected to be appointed as chief of the military’s general staff in place of Kosner, as tradition dictates only the ground forces head can take over the armed forces.