The annual Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) will meet on Aug. 1 to discuss matters regarding military personnel of rank, including superannuation and the promotion of generals. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and National Defense Minister Fikri Işık along with force commanders and top-ranking generals will attend the meeting in which some commanders will be superannuated, leaving their posts to the highest ranking generals.
According to military sources, the preparations for the meeting are almost complete. The list of ranking officers who will be promoted was prepared after conducting surveys and scorings. It is expected that approximately 50 captains will be promoted while around 30 military personnel's incumbencies will be extended. Some force commanders will be replaced. Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler is expected to replace Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Galip Mendi while Gen. İhsan Uyar, who was a previous colleague of the current Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, is expected to fill the post emptied by Güler. Similarly, Naval Force Commander Adm. Bülent Bostanoğlu is supposed to be superannuated and Fleet Commander Veysel Kösele will assume his duty. It is believed that Air Force Commander Gen. Abidin Ünal's term will be extended, as he is currently participating in the air raids on the PKK in Northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains. Likewise, Land Forces Commander Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak is also expected to stay in his post.
On a side note, the final decision about more than 1,000 military personnel who have alleged connections to the Gülen Movement and are charged with military espionage, is expected to be made during the meetings. Last year, then Defense İsmet Minister Yılmaz had said that there was an ongoing investigation for over a thousand military personnel who were allegedly connected with the Gülen Movement, an organization that has been declared a national threat by Turkey's National Security Council (MGK) and declared as the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) by prosecutors. Therefore, this year's YAŞ meeting could mark a crucial turn in Turkey's fight against the FETÖ, as over 1,000 alleged Gülenist military personnel could possibly be dismissed from duty. Most recently, two admirals and three lieutenant commanders were apprehended on charges of being connected with the blacklisted organization and military espionage. The attorney general's office has given the order to apprehend the suspects in order to prevent them from escaping justice by leaving Turkey.
Speaking to Turkish news outlets on the issue of Gülenist military personnel, former Office of the Chief of Staff Director of Intelligence Rtd. Gen. İsmail Hakkı Pekin said that "military justice should conclude their investigations as soon as possible, in order to restore their own reputation. The Armed Forces should clean house; any personnel who has the slightest connection with the organization must be dismissed, otherwise a resolution for this issue will not be possible." He added that military justice should do the same, eradicating Gülenist infiltrators from their ranks, just like in civic justice.