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Erdoğan reforms Turkish military radically

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With a decree issued on the Official Gazette on July 15, President Tayyip Erdoğan has placed Turkey’s chief of General Staff under the Defense Ministry, in a move debated since Turkey entered the Western defense alliance NATO in 1952.

Besides being politically symbolic to issue it on the second anniversary of the July 15, 2016, military coup attempt, the decree is a major move to take Turkish military under civilian control.

The timing is important, too. After being re-elected to the new presidential government system, in which all executive power is concentrated in the president’s hands, while also having a significant say in parliament and the judiciary, Erdoğan has appointed Gen. Hulusi Akar, now former chief of General Staff, as defense minister. He had said on his way to the July 11-12 NATO Summit that this arrangement was on the agenda. Erdoğan issued the decree after his return from the NATO Summit in Brussels, where he went with his new defense minister and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, representing the military and diplomacy wings of a civilian power.

It seems Erdoğan has planned the transition to be as smooth as possible by naming Akar, Turkey’s top soldier, as the defense minister. Akar was captured by coup soldiers on the night of July 15, 2016, and played an important role in the aftermath by partaking in removing members of the illegal network of the U.S.-based Islamist preacher Fethullah........

© Hürriyet Daily News