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Monday, August 2, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Turkish government breaks precedent, intervenes in military appointments

ANKARA — For the first time, Turkey's government has intervened in the appointment of military commanders.


President Abdullah Gul has initiated a meeting with Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug to discuss the promotion and dismissal of leading commanders. Gul's consultation, said to have been unprecedented, came as 11 generals and admirals have been served an arrest warrant on charges of participating in a coup plot.

"The purpose is to prevent a crisis," an official said.

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The three-hour meeting between Gul and Basbug took place on July 31 on the eve of the Supreme Military Council, a four-day session meant to decide on promotions and dismissals in all three services. Gul, an ally of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, was said to have discussed the 11 indicted officers and whether they were candidates for promotion.

The military has appealed the indictments by the Istanbul criminal court, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the indicted commanders would be ineligible for promotion if the appeals were rejected.

In all, 102 officers and others have been indicted in connection with the alleged plot. Critics said the prosecution has been directed by Erdogan and his pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party in an attempt to marginalize the powerful military.

The military council also intends to discuss the scheduled retirement of Basbug on Aug. 30. Basbug was expected to be replaced by Land Forces Commander Gen. Isak Kosaner. In all, the fate of 134 officers were expected to be decided by the council.

Others slated for retirement included Gendarmerie commander Gen. Atilla Isik. The commanders of the Air Force and Navy were expected to remain in their posts.

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