Special to WorldTribune.com
U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says Turkey’s purge of military leaders is hurting efforts to defeat the Islamic State militant group.
Turkey’s purge of its military after a failed coup attempt is hindering cooperation with U.S. military and intelligence operations against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, U.S. officials have said.
Clapper and U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on July 28 that the purge had swept aside many Turkish officers who assisted the United States in its efforts to defeat IS, and landed some of them in jail.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a major overhaul of NATO’s second-largest military after the abortive coup and on July 28 moved to put the military under his control.
Nearly 1,700 military personnel received dishonorable discharges over their alleged role in the July 16 putsch, including around 40 percent of Turkey’s admirals and generals.
Around a third of Turkey’s roughly 360 generals were detained, and more than 100 of them have been charged pending trial.
“It’s having an effect, because it’s affected all segments of the national security apparatus in Turkey,” Clapper said.
“Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested…. There’s no question this is going to set back and make more difficult cooperation with the Turks.”