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Turkey’s Commanding Generals Resign in Protest

Chief of Staff General Işık Koşaner and all of the force commanders of the Turkish Armed Forces resigned by 18:00 EET today (July 29, 2011).

This is considered as the biggest protest in Turkish republican military history and the first time that the Chief of Staff has resigned together with the commanders of the navy (Adm. Eşref Uğur Yiğit), land (Gen. Erdal Ceylanoğlu) and air force (Gen. Hasan Aksay). The Commander of the Gendarmerie Gen. Necdet Özel has not yet declared his resignation.

Resignations sent shock waves across the Turkish political scene; currently all of the Turkish TV and radio channels are unanimously covering this. Resignations come right before the highly anticipated Supreme Military Council meeting scheduled on Monday, August 1st, which will approve military promotions, including the next commanding officers as well as the Chief of Staff.

There are deep divisions between the Armed Forces and the government regarding the status and promotion of the arrested active duty generals, due to an alleged coup plan. Furthermore, deeper divisions remain regarding the future Force Commander candidates of the government and the military apparatus.

As it stands, the Supreme Military Council meeting on Monday will take place without the Chief of Staff and the commanding generals of the army, navy and the air force.

Turkey's Commanding Generals Resign in Protest



Akin Unver

Dr. Ünver is an assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul.

Previously he was the Ertegün Lecturer of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies department - the only academic to retain this prestigious fellowship for two consecutive years. He conducted his joint post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan’s Center for European Studies and the Center for the Middle East and North African Studies, where he authored several articles on Turkish politics, most notable of which is ”Turkey’s deep-state and the Ergenekon conundrum”, published by the Middle East Institute.

Born and raised in Ankara, Turkey, he graduated from T.E.D. Ankara College in 1999 and earned his B.A. in International Relations from Bilkent University (2003) and MSc in European Studies from the Middle East Technical University (2005). He received his PhD from the Department of Government, University of Essex, where his dissertation, ‘A comparative analysis of the discourses on the Kurdish question in the European Parliament, US Congress and Turkish National Assembly‘ has won the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2010 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences.

Akın also assumed entry-level policy positions at the European Union Secretariat-General, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (D.C.), as well as teaching positions at the University of Essex (Theories of International Relations) and Sabancı University (Turkey and the Middle East).

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