Turkey appoints new army top brass

Istanbul, August 4: Turkey's top military council on Saturday appointed new commanders in what observers said was further evidence that the government now controlled the once all-powerful army.

The Supreme Military Council chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided on the forced retirement of gendarmerie force commander General Bekir Kalyoncu, who had been expected to become land forces commander.

Local media reported that Erdogan blocked the promotion because Kalyoncu's name often cropped up in the trial of alleged coup plotters.

Kalyoncu's exit is considered the latest blow to Turkey's beleaguered officer corps who are the target of a series of probes launched in recent years into past military interventions and coup plots.

General Hulusi Akar was promoted to the helm of the land forces and is expected to replace current chief of staff General Necdet Ozel in 2015.

Vice-Admiral Bulent Bostanoglu was appointed as the chief of the navy and Lieutenant General Akin Ozturk as the head of the air force.

Since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan's government has reined in the powerful military, once the self-appointed guardians of the secular state who carried out four coups over half a century.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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