Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says from now on all military
commanders will report directly to the country’s defense minister and that all military
academies will be closed.
During an interview with the Turkish broadcaster A Haber on Saturday, Erdogan said that the new measures were aimed at bringing the military under full civilian control. He added that the military academies would be replaced with a national defense university.
“We are going to introduce a small constitutional package (to parliament) which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and chief of staff under the control of the presidency,” he said.
Erdogan also announced cuts in the size of the country’s gendarmerie security forces along with upgrades to their weaponry. He also noted that his lawyers had started work on withdrawing lawsuits against persons who had insulted him.
The Turkish president has filed hundreds of court cases against critics, including many journalists, for insulting him since he took office in August 2014.
On Friday, he had announced that in the spirit of “unity” following the coup he would revoke the said lawsuits.
Earlier, Turkish authorities announced the release of over 750 soldiers who were detained following the failed coup, noting that 231 soldiers still remain in custody.
A detained Turkish soldier who allegedly took part in a military coup arrives with his hands bound behind his back at the Istanbul Justice Palace on July 20, 2016. (AFP)
On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the country had succeeded in purging the military from all elements linked to US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for the failed coup attempt.
“Those who show tolerance to traitors are also traitors themselves,” he said.
The putsch began overnight on July 15, when rebel soldiers declared they were in control of the country and the Ankara administration was no more in charge. Tanks, helicopters and soldiers then clashed with police and people on the streets of the capital and Istanbul.
The coup was gradually suppressed by military forces and people loyal to Erdogan. Over 60,000 people have been removed, suspended or detained over suspected links with the putsch.