Supreme Military Council to meet to alter top General Staff
by Merve Aydoğan
ISTANBULJul 06, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Jul 06, 2015 12:00 am
As Turkey extends safety measures to its Syrian border, reportedly with allocated extra funds from the Finance Ministry in line with the newly adopted security measures, the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) will convene on Aug. 3 and Aug. 5 in efforts to make critical changes to the highest-ranking members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The upcoming YAŞ meeting will be chaired by interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu if a new government is not formed yet. The threat imposed by the "parallel structure" – referring to the Gülen Movement – as well as the military personnel who are allegedly affiliated with the structure will also top the YAŞ meeting discussions.
Although the continuous threat imposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Syria as well as the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) remains, the TSK continues its preparations against any new developments in the region. Despite the serious threat at the border, the TSK is also preparing for the YAŞ meeting in early August. Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel along with Air Force Commander Akın Öztürk, Commander of the Navy Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu and Commander of the Gendarmerie Forces Gen. Abdullah Atay are to retire at the end of August 2015. Sources in Ankara report that Gen. Hulusi Akar, Commander of the Turkish Land Forces, is to fill the vacant position left by Özel and become the next chief of General Staff.
Akar played a significant role in the operation to relocate the Tomb of Süleyman Shah, which allowed the government to minimize the risk of unplanned involvement in regional clashes. Akar has also been invited by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno to Washinton in late January 2015. During the visit, Akar observed U.S. military units and institutions and also discussed routine military cooperation, joint training and military exercises. In efforts to prevent and minimize the flow of foreign terrorists as well as to prevent the flow of PKK fighters and ISIS terrorists into Turkey by making use of Turkey's open-door policy for refugees, Akar established comprehensive strategies and informed government officials at all National Security Council (MGK) meetings.
Sources further indicate that 1st Army Commander Gen. Zeki Çolak is to be assigned the next commander of the Turkish Land Forces once Akar becomes the chief of General Staff. Additionally, it has been reported that Vice Admiral of the Turkish Navy Veysel Kösele is expected to be assigned as the next commander of the Turkish Navy and Abidin Ünal, commander of the Turkish Air Force's Combatant Air Force Command, is to become the next Turkish Air Forces commander. In addition, sources further report that 2nd Army Commander Gen. Galip Mendi is to become the commander of the Gendarmerie Forces.