Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top Military Leaders in Turkey Resign

On July 29, top military leaders in Turkey resigned, including the commanders of the army, navy and air force. The chief of the general staff, Isik Kosaner refused to continue serving in light of the continued detention of 250 retired and active-duty military officers who are being held for their alleged involvement in the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer coup plots.

Surprisingly, the financial markets and the government were 'unfazed' by this move. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan named General Necdet Ozel as the new head of land forces and acting deputy chief of the general staff, but otherwise gave no response to the military's action.

The resignations have been described by some as the 'moment the Turkish military was finally civilianized.' In previous months, Erdogan refused to endorse many of Kosaner's suggestions on military appointments and promotions, perhaps in an effort to show the military no longer has the same political influence that it once did. Still, some military analysts are concerned that military morale and military capability will suffer greatly as a result of the resignations.