40 Turkish generals forced to retire for plotting coup

Turkey’s Supreme Military Council forced all of the forty generals and admirals who are currently under arrest as part of ongoing coup investigations to retire in its annual decisions announced on Saturday.

The YAŞ meeting concluded on Friday and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with President Abdullah Gül, along with YAŞ members, on Friday evening and handed him the YAŞ decisions for approval. Gül approved the decisions on Saturday.

According to the decisions, a total number of 55 admirals and generals were forced to retire due to “lack of vacant seats in their positions.” Among them were 4o admirals and generals presently under arrest on coup plotting and terrorism charges.

There are 68 active duty generals and admirals under arrest. Forty of them were expecting to be promoted at this year’s YAŞ meeting. Twenty-one of them, whose service was extended in 2010 and 2011, have already hit the four-year limit, and they needed to be asked to retire, according to military custom. The tenure of the remaining 19 officers might have been extended but the council refused to do so.

The 68 generals and admirals are suspects in coup plotting and terrorism-related cases, including those related to the Ergenekon terrorist network, the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot and an Internet campaign to discredit Turkey’s ruling party. Among the jailed generals and admirals are Lt. Gens. İsmail Hakkı Pekin, Nejat Bek and Yurdaer Olcan; Maj. Gens. Gürbüz Kaya, Ahmet Yavuz, İhsan Balaballı and Berkay Turgut, and Vice Adms. Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu and Kadir Sağdıç.

YAŞ meetings in recent years have been occasions on which civilian will has come up against the Turkish military in attempts to make it give up its anti-democratic efforts and bow to the will of the people.

According to the YAŞ decisions announced on Saturday, 47 colonels have been promoted as generals and admirals. <Cihan News Agency>


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