Without much warning, besides earlier signs of some tension between the Turkish armed forces command and the Turkish government, the entirety of the military command of Turkey has resigned all at once. Three military chiefs of the Turkish Land Forces, the Turkish Navy and the Turkish Air Force have been confirmed to be among those who resigned.
The Chief of General Staff, Isik Kosaner has also stepped down perhaps, as local media say, over disputes between the “Islamic elitist” government led by current Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP for short) and the secular military.
For nearly 90 years, the Turkish Armed Forces has been an undisputed military and political controller of Turkey’s secular democracy.
But when 42 generals and dozens of senior military officials were arrested last year (accused of being part of a secret underground network dubbed “Ergenekon”) and imprisoned for plotting treason (an elaborate coup d’etat that involved provoking war with Greece) against the government, the public has been wary of the military.
The military which was virtually exempt from prosecution has been set up as a target to criticize by the Turkish public and more importantly, the government which seeks to chisel away at the military’s influence in civilian government.
Many in the military have denied that such a plot against the government ever existed.
Some predict that the mass resignation will become a potential problem for Turkey and its political leadership in the near future while others say that this event was “symbolic” of the civilian government finally taking control.
Others worry that the resignations may negatively affect the markets if the news is delivered in a worse manner.
Before the resignations, the military brass was supposed to gather for a meeting to decide promotions for senior officers.
Again, the local media speculates that there was conflict between the government and military for that meeting as well since some of the military chiefs’ choices to promote certain individuals suspected of being Ergenekon wouldn’t have gone well with the government.