With more civilian members, top military council meets tomorrow

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 31.07.2017 23:47
Updated 01.08.2017 10:33

Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Turkey's Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), which has a new civilian appearance, convenes tomorrow. The council, whose decisions require presidential approval, will address issues regarding the country's military forces, such as the retirement and promotion of generals, and the dismissal of its members linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). In the aftermath of last year's failed coup attempt, the government restructured YAŞ, handing more seats to Cabinet ministers and reducing the military's representation.

In line with the change, the deputy prime ministers, the justice minister, the foreign minister, the interior minister, the defense minister and the prime minister will attend the meeting along with the commanders of the armed forces. Previously, the president, the prime minister and the defense minister were the only civilian representatives in the council.

The military was brought under further government control after the July 15 coup attempt, and the commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Forces were ordered to answer directly to the Defense Ministry.

In addition, the president and prime minister were given the authorities to issue direct orders to military commanders without the need of any prior approval.

According to military sources, the fight against FETÖ, the status of the chief of general staff and other commanders would likely top the council's agenda Wednesday.

In the effort to bring the military under further government control following the FETÖ coup attempt, which saw 249 people killed, the commanders of the Army, Navy and the Air Force will answer directly to the National Defense Ministry.

FETÖ had a long-running campaign to overthrow the democratically elected government by infiltrating government institutions, including the judiciary, police, education and military.

The group tried to seize power via a coup on July 15 last year, but the attempt was foiled by millions of Turkish citizens who took to the streets in favor of democracy alongside soldiers and police loyal to the government.

Sources claimed that preparations for the meeting were almost complete and a list of officers set to be promoted has already been prepared after some rigorous vetting and scoring.

In the current practice, generals and admirals appointed as force commanders can remain in the position for two years with options for extensions until they reach 65.

The council's decisions will later be made public following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's approval.

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