The Turkish government and army have reached today an agreement to reshape the military leadership following the resignation last Friday of four of the five members of staff due to disagreements with the Islamist Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The deal, made public this morning after the annual meeting of the Supreme Military Council(YAS), translates to the election of four new generals with few political desires as heads of the second largest army in NATO. Their election strengthens civilian control of the military and is a success for Erdoğan who, since coming to power in 2002, maintains an underground struggle with the uniformed men.
The meeting between the government and the military, which started on Monday, has been strained because of discrepancies between the civil and military establishments.Finally, both have agreed to achieve an honorable exit for the 14 officers suspected of planning a coup d'etat, as the discussion revolved around their promotions. Government and military officals have agreed, as planned, and as the law dictates, not to promote the imprisoned generals, but to allow them to stay at their posts for another year.
The head of the Gendarmerie and only commander who refused to resign last week, Necdet Özel, has been appointed new chief of staff. The new appointments further promote General Hayri Kivrikoglu to Land Force commander and second in the chain of command of the Army. Kivrikoglu is known for his opposition to the moderate Islamists and for denying in the past to welcome President Abdullah Gül. General Mehmet Erten is the new commander of the Air Force. The commanding of the Navy lies with the General Bilgel Emin Murat. And the command of the Gendarmerie passes to Bekir Kalyoncu.
The agreement between the military and moderate Islamists cut some of the tension that broke out Friday. The conflict between the two establishments has strengthened the party in government who, according to some analysts, has the go-ahead to develop new laws to definitely submit the military power to the executive. Among these, banning uniformed men from making any political statements is being discussed. Under this new law, the staff are allowed to and should convey their views to the prime minister during their weekly meetings.
ElPaís 04/08/2011, Lopez Blanca Aranguena, Erdogan pacta con el Ejército turco una salida a la crisis entre Gobierno y cúpula militar.
Translated from Spanish by Clara Rivas Alonso