Turkey to establish national defense university, President Erdoğan says

Published 30.07.2016 21:42
Updated 31.07.2016 00:45
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Right) with Daily Sabah columnists Hilal Kaplan and Melih Altınok at the Presidential Complex in Ankara (AA Photo)
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Right) with Daily Sabah columnists Hilal Kaplan and Melih Altınok at the Presidential Complex in Ankara (AA Photo)

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Saturday that Turkey will shut down military schools and will replace them with a national defense university, while the armed forces and intelligence chiefs will report directly to the president as part of the efforts to bring a civilian character to and strengthen Turkey's democracy.

Speaking for an interview on a live broadcast by ATV and A Haber channels, Erdoğan said that military schools would be closed and all military commanders will report to the Minister of Defense.

This university of national defense would include army, air force and naval academies. A gendarmerie academy will also be established, the president said.

Students from all schools will be able to enter cadet schools and there will be an umbrella organization above the cadet schools, the president said.

Erdoğan noted that the Chief of General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) will report directly to the presidency if Turkey passes a constitutional package.

Additionally, all military hospitals will go under the Ministry of Health, after it was discovered that Gülenist agents within military hospitals exempted many students who qualified to serve, and falsified medical reports to ensure specific students got into military schools and others did not.

The President also criticized the indifference of world powers to Turkish people's commitment to protect democracy, saying that no country bothered to send a minister or official to see the situation in Turkey and instead chose to express 'concern' over the situation after the coup attempt.

Erdoğan said that although many countries called to congratulate Turkey for thwarting the coup attempt, they said they were concerned about the detention of soldiers and prosecutors affiliated with the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ).

Erdoğan noted that he does not find it ethical for countries to call Turkey to congratulate it for thwarting the coup attempt, but not sincerely support it when Turkey tries to fight those who attempted to bring down the democratically elected government.

"The phone calls you make –regarding the failed coup attempt- have no value if you are not honest," Erdoğan added.

The President continued by saying that Turkey has always responded to the U.S.'s extradition requests, but the latter refuses to extradite the leader of FETÖ Fethullah Gülen, who's been living there since 1999 and whose agents have infiltrated Turkish state institutions to topple the democratically elected government.

He also touched upon the fight against PKK terrorists in Turkey's southeast and said that the country will continue counter-terror operations with determination. He added that opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have expressed their support to Turkey's fight against terrorists.

Erdoğan also underscored that Turkey will continue to identify Gülenists within the military, police and judiciary and said that a total of 10,137 suspects involved in the Gülenist coup attempt have been arrested so far.

On July 15, a group of rogue soldiers linked to the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) attempted to topple the democratically elected government in Turkey and bring martial law in effect. The attempt was prevented by the military loyal to the government along with police units and millions of people in favor of democracy. Over 230 civilians were killed and 2,191 people were injured. Opposition parties have united in condemnation of the coup attempt, denouncing it in the harshest terms and underscoring their determination to preserve democracy and the rule of law in Turkey.

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