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Erdogan Enforces Sweeping Changes on Supreme Military Council | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish army soldiers marching, AFP 2016/ ADEM ALTAN

Ankara-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new presidential decree on Sunday which introduced sweeping changes to Turkey’s military in the wake of the abortive coup, bringing national armed forces further under civilian authority.

Several top Turkish Cabinet ministers will now have seats on the Supreme Military Council (YAS). The change is considered a key reform in the wake of the failed July 15 military coup by a group of rogue officers, the state Official Gazette announced on Sunday.

According to the gazette, 1,389 military personnel were dismissed for suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is the no.1 suspect of orchestrating the failed putsch.

Under a statutory decree, seen as part of Turkey’s current three-month state of emergency, the deputy prime ministers and the foreign, justice, and interior ministers will now join the prime minister, chief of General Staff, defense minister, and the force commanders on the council.

A number of military officers will no longer sit on the council, including some generals and admirals.

Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 20, just days after a group of rogue military officers were defeated in their July 15 coup attempt.

During a state of emergency, the Cabinet has the right to issue statutory decrees under the president of the republic without regard to routine procedures and restrictions found in Article 91 of the Constitution.

These decrees are first published in the Official Gazette and then submitted to parliament for ratification.

Under other published reforms, the gendarmerie is now answerable to the Interior Ministry, so the gendarmerie commander will also no longer sit on the council.

Also under the changes announced, the defense minister replaces the deputy chief of General Staff as the council’s secretary general.

The president and prime minister will also have authority to issue direct orders to commanders without the need for approval from elsewhere.

In addition, the decree assigns Ankara’s Gulhane Military Medical Academy and military hospitals across Turkey under the Health Ministry.

Turkey’s land, naval, and air forces now are also directly answerable to the Defense Ministry.

The decree also closes all of Turkey’s war academies, military high schools, and high schools that train non-commissioned officers, to be replaced by a new university called the National Defense University under the Defense Ministry.

The university will offer new institutions to train staff officers and give postgraduate education, including war academies and vocational schools that train non-commissioned officers.