The Generals Quit

This post has been updated three times.

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner requested his retirement Friday afternoon, along with Turkey’s Land, Sea and Air Force commanders, leaving NATO’s second biggest army temporarily leaderless.

This shocking event comes right after a meeting between the military chiefs, PM Erdogan and President Gul. It is not known what was said. The Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, is to meet on Monday. At that time, promotion decisions are made. Forty-three generals are available for promotion and of these 14 expected to be promoted at this year’s YAŞ meeting. The government apparently wished for those generals to retire, something that was not countenanced by the General Staff, so the officers can neither be promoted nor retire, leading to this crisis.

Adding fuel to the fire, it was rumored that the Aegean Forces Commander Nusret Taşdeler was to be arrested before the YAŞ meeting as part of the larger Eregenekon trial (in his case as part of an alleged conspiracy by the military to use the Internet to create social chaos and overthrow the government). Two hundred officers are in jail, 42 of them serving generals. Some have resigned their posts because they were not promoted last year. (Those involved in a court case may not be promoted. The AKP apparently has indicated its desire that they retire, i.e. are effectively removed from their posts, which the General Staff refused to do.)  The YAŞ meeting theoretically can take place without the missing commanders, or it may be postponed.  It is chaired by the prime minister, who now has the pick of his litter for new officers. (click here, in Turkish, here in English)

Hours after the country’s entire military echelon, including the Chief of the General Staff, resigned from their posts in a reaction to civilian rulers, the government appointed Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Necdet Özel late Friday as the land forces commander, in a move to end the crisis as swiftly as possible. Özel is likely to become the country’s top soldier over the weekend as well… (click here for more)

Gen. Koşaner gave a farewell speech to his troops on Friday in which he said that many members of the armed forces had been arrested and were being tried on charges not backed by hard evidence. This has caused sorrow, anxiety, and resentment. He pointed out that “250 officers, 173 active duty and 77 retired,.. have been deprived of their liberty.” He doesn’t agree with jurists who argue that these arrests were carried out according to civilized judicial standards and according to values of legality, justice and morality. Despite there having been no decision in their cases, 14 admirals and 58 colonels continue to be deprived of their liberty. “The armed forces has been made to appear to be a criminal gang.” He said he was resigning because he was no longer able to carry out his duty to protect the rights of the members of the armed forces. (click here, in Turkish. Thanks for the link, Emre.)

The New York Times says it better here.

Monday: And here’s the lineup of attendees at today’s YAŞ meeting and the scorecards of the potential candidates for promotion. Click here.

42 Responses to “The Generals Quit”

  1. Here’s what Kosaner said in his farewell message:


  3. Emre, actually I was hoping you’d come up with a link to the full text like you often do. (I checked the army’s site too.) Not that the fragment that’s circulating isn’t clear enough, of course, but I’m thinking perhaps there’d be more in the beginning.

  4. Whoa, Hurriyet changed the text. When I linked it they had a quote that was identical to the one in Emre’s link. It is shortened now and perhaps more innocous. It isn’t surprising for a Dogan paper (or others, for that matter) of course.

  5. Alas I only found this brief official announcement.

  6. Turkey’s top generals resigned en masse. The police chief remained to take over – Erdogan anyway had formally moved to empower the police (not army) to fight terrorism. Prepare for Islamization of Turkey’s military. The AK party’s arbitrary arrest and detention techniques mirror the military’s past, formerly known as coups. Nato’s eastern flank, facing Russia, Iran, Syria, now effectively non-existent.

  7. Gov’t picks gendarmerie commander as next top soldier

  8. People are fussing too much about this w/o really telling us why in a convincing manner. ‘Unprecedented’ it may well be if the word is taken literally, but why is this more significant than, say, Torumtay’s resignation or the pushing and shoving that led up to Kenan Evren’s appointment to the top post? Note how both of those events marked a ‘win’ of sorts for the civilian authority and they turned out to be hugely significant in unexpected ways. I don’t see any meaningful commentary about what this all might mean other than the alarmist cliches about Islam and what not or re-proclamations of the end of the army’s influence. (Wasn’t this announced several times already by pundits? What will they say the next time? Reminds me of an old cartoon with an old guy in bed going “these are my last words …, no no these are my last words, … no strike that, here are my last words …”).

  9. Hey guys, check out the comments under the NYT article. Before our eyes history has been revised and people pass off the freshly manufactured version of history as fact. Here’s an excerpt from one example:
    This is a new variation on an old conflict in Turkey. Three times in the last 50+ years (1960, 1972, and 1980), the military has intervened because it saw that the government had become too extreme and was violating the fundamental separation of the State from religion.
    Even though I have heard something like this from foreigners with a demonstrated tendency to regurgitate what they’d been fed by Gulen’s propagandists, I don’t think it is the cemaat that’s doing it. Gulen himself has applauded both the intervention of ’71 (not ’72) and the coup of ’80 because of the people they primarily targeted and IMHO he hasn’t publicly reversed himself. Is there some other group trying to capitalize on the unease felt about Islam by feeding foreigners this nonsense? Who’s telling people this?

  10. President, gov’t rule out a crisis, describe resignations as normalization

  11. “Even though I have heard something like this from foreigners with a demonstrated tendency to regurgitate what they’d been fed by Gulen’s propagandists…”

    should they listen propagandists like you?

  12. Ila, look up seref and haysiyet (or ask your abis) and then try to get some.

  13. “look up seref and haysiyet (or ask your abis) and then try to get some.”

    You are better than Gulen’s propagandist. You not only know how to propagate but also how to curse people.

    Definitely, the NYT should listen to your potty mouth (or maybe not:)

  14. That’s right, Bulent, don’t propagate in public; keep stuff in your bedroom!

    ila, I invitate you to an English class at the Bulent Murtezaoglu Center For Sakirts Who Can’t Write Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.

  15. do you you guys live together?

  16. Emre, I actually like sakirts and would have no trouble sharing whatever knowledge I have that might be useful to them. I like the ones that I know who openly say so (including the ones I interact on the ‘net) that is. They are good people and are trying hard to stay good. I believe Bekaroglu once said “alti cemaat, ustu orgut” it is the orgut part that draws the objections and rightly so.
    Anyway, am I the only person here who noticed the oddness in the NYT comments? The commenters there seem to have noticed what I noticed too.

  17. Emre listen to your abi.

  18. The NYT should use a bad language like yours to get noticed.

  19. Ila ask your abis about taking on multiple personalities with fake names on the ‘net and saying stuff you wouldn’t or couldn’t say to people’s faces. It is not that I am imposing or scary or would attempt to beat you up, it is just that if you are indeed a sakirt or any kind of semi-conservative Turk you yourself just wouldn’t do it. If you can actually show me what falsehoods I have spread for propaganda purposes, however, it is another matter. Can you? Just because Jenny gets treated with velvet gloves here doesn’t mean you or anyone else gets a free shot. It isn’t ‘bad language’ when it is descriptive of ‘bad’ stuff, BTW.

  20. No, I am neither a religious conservative nor an anti-religious conservative. Everyone who does not agree with you is not a member of Gulen organization. You act like those who blame everyone as a member of Ergenekon. What is the difference. The same childish reaction. I am sick of both sides.

    Who does not use a nick name here?

    Propaganda is not bad, If the NYT should not listen to pro-AKP propagandists, why shout they listen to anti-AKP propagandists? Because you say so, right:)

    Read the following out loud: “look up seref and haysiyet (or ask your abis) and then try to get some.”

    that is what you said and it is bad language and it sounds like coming from a potty mouth.

  21. Ila, there you go:
    Everyone who does not agree with you is not a member of Gulen organization.
    No I don’t. I am not any kinder on Dogan’s people or Cumhuriyet people, for that matter. You can verify this very easily. What gives you this idea?
    You act like those who blame everyone as a member of Ergenekon.
    If the premise were true, this would be a reasonable conclusion. the premise is false.
    Who does not use a nick name here?
    (I don’t, Jenny doesn’t, Jim doesn’t, Aengus doesn’t etc. etc.) Nothing wrong with nicknames, people use them for many reasons. Cheap potshots from people with multiple/disposable nicknames is another matter. You do look like you came out of the same mold as a whole bunch of other posters who we suspected to be the same person. For good reason.
    Propaganda is not bad, If the NYT should not listen to pro-AKP propagandists, why shout they listen to anti-AKP propagandists?
    Who said they should listen to anti-AKP propagandists? I cannot claim I write clearly but what I said should have been clear. Here, then is another attempt:
    – I was talking about commenters there, not the article itself. So NYT listening or not listening isn’t relevant.
    – I was assuming at least some of those commenters were American (not hyphenated American).
    – What those people were saying followed a pattern that went like: (1)The coups have always been against Islamists in favor of secularism (2)this is a good thing, (3) what is now happening is part of ‘Islamization’ and bad. Now I have seen 1 pushed by Americans before and traced it to propaganda spread by people who were involved with Gulen’s ‘orgut’ (doesn’t make them sakirts, some are hired guns). At any rate the ‘secularism’ they speak of is a rather weird one anyway. That was not what I was curious about. The provenance of ‘2’ and ‘3’ is unclear to me and I am curious. I know what kind of people say stuff like that here in Turkey but don’t know if they would have any influence on Americans.
    – I should say that of the above three labeled things. ‘1’ is false. 2 is about a false referent. ‘3’ is too simplistic and possibly false. This doesn’t have much to do with what i said.
    – I stand by what I said about seref and haysiyet. I say this because I highly doubt you could have said it to my face (turns out to be based on misperceptions, and that is on a generous reading). Serefli and haysiyetli people do not do that. If you dislike that description, do not be like that. You certainly have the wherewithall to not be like that. Potty mouth I’ll accept, though — for other reasons and not because it is something to be proud of. Jenny would kick me out or censor me if I showed you those reasons, obviously.

  22. My nickname is ila. If you are not sure then do not blame people for doing things they do not.

    If seref and haysiyet are very important for you, I would expect you talk very carefully about other people’s seref and haysiyet. I will not respond you with using the same language because even seeing words like seref and haysiyet reminds me honor killings by honorable people (!) in Turkey.

    I like the NYT people because they are balanced and they never use bad language.

  23. Ila,
    Well agreement is not necessary. I do note your evasiveness, though. As for your attempt to tie honor killings to what i said I take it is another cheap shot.
    I like the NYT people because they are balanced and they never use bad language.
    Argh. The paper you speak of printed a lot of vacuous or badly researched nonsense on Turkey (we may have talked about this here). That they don’t say things like ‘vacuous nonsense’ is hardly redeeming.

  24. Reading Zaman at the times was reminding me to read it reverse.. So, should it be the same with nicknames? My name Nasah 🙂


  25. Reading Zaman at the times was reminding me to read the name reverse.. So, should it be the same with nicknames? My name is Nasah 🙂


  26. no my name is not and can not be Ali. please find another conspiracy theory to entertain yourself.

    “The paper you speak of printed a lot of vacuous or badly researched nonsense on Turkey…”

    You are absolutely right. Whatever you do not like is nonsense. They should hire you because they need your advice which is full of seref and haysiyet.

  27. Ila I have done you the favor of properly responding to one set of your assertions. If you had a problem with what I said you could have responded. You instead insist on attempting to respond in inane assertions about me. It is possible that I call what I dislike ‘nonsense.’ I wouldn’t know and you don’t seem to be the kind of the person to show me. It is a demonstrated fact, however, that you keep attempting to say stuff about me that you cannot back up. What to call that behaviour, I leave up to you. I know you won’t like my characterization.

  28. feel free to show us your inner beauty that will prove the fact that everything you disagree is “nonsense.”

    P.S. It is not fair though, because you have advocates who remind me of Gulen’s dedicated followers. But so be it.

  29. one more similarity: seref and haysiyet are so important for Gulenists too.
    Opposing ideologies but same mentality?

  30. mehmet/nicea/ila/etc. does not see the irony in saying “Who does not use a nick name here?” to a person named Bulent Murtezaoglu on a blog run by a person named Jenny White.

  31. wow! Sakirts of Bulent are even faster than those of Gulen. But be better than Gulen’s blind followers and read my post before defending your hodjaefendi:)

    I am sorry to say but you guys have the same mentality with the people you hate.

  32. Ila, note how I never claimed to hold an opposing ideology to Gulenists. This was your claim. This is in part because I don’t know what their ideology is, but also in part because I happen to agree with and like some of what they do. In fact, I have, more than once been called a Gulenist or an advocate for them (by a different crowd, obviously).
    I won’t touch the ‘inner beauty’ bit, your notion of ‘proof’ and the rest of your stuff. It doesn’t seem to have much of a point. I cannot claim to have inner beauty or that I am right in whatever characterizations I draw. For the former, the most I can do is ask why someone would make assertions about it and we know how far that goes with you. For the latter, the best I can do is tell people why I say what I say. I have done that, BTW.

  33. The last 36 hrs so many people expressed their view about the res. of the mil. What I don’t understand is; why can Turks never accept face-value the things which happens before their noses. Always those conspiracy theories! Lack of intellect? I consider religious bigots the same as those whom lives are filled with conspiracy theories.

  34. […] The Generals Quit […]

  35. Hahaha, I missed that. It appears, Emre is called my sakirt. I should have said say look up ‘izan’ and ‘idrak.’ My mistake, I apologize.

  36. Erdoğan presses for power shift from army

  37. Folks, you’ll love this:
    Once again, it seems, the right thing to say is that we’re born soldiers.
    If we figured out a way to connect a generator to these respected people, we wouldn’t need nuclear energy.

  38. More fun. From here:
    “Last year things in Turkey changed for the better,” said Salih Memecan, president of the Media Association, a press freedom and journalism training group comprising some 24 media outlets, several sympathetic to the AKP. “We are living in a more demilitarized society and the media are more diversified.” (emphasis mine)
    I looked up this ‘Media Association’ too. Here:

  39. Yes, funny. Türköne should have a sideline in stand-up comedy.

    Daha karpuz kesecektik ama haber uydurmakla meşguldük:

  40. …and this is what happens without data retention laws:

    It makes you wonder just how far back their records go… Advanced democracy, here we come, woohoo!

  41. Emre, no law is going to really stop that but the use of the info my be restricted. There used to be a joke (?) about the police getting instructed to destroy their records of people and complying — after they took photocopies. OTOH, I don’t know if military or intelligence personnel should expect the same protections as ordinary citizenry. I say this with a giggle, of course, since I don’t see how — given that despicable behaviours produce no apparent guilt or shame among the drivers of the public discourse — anyone can expect any protection at all from concentrated power (state or private).
    On the Taraf liars and couriers of leaked info: I wonder what will happen to them once the powers that be have no more use for them. Their presence and the cheers they receive is revealing, though, about the state of some of the educated and engaged members of this society. So even if the leaks and such haven’t been that useful and informative, their existence and some people’s tolerance and cheering for them certainly has been. (At least for me. Maybe I complain too much about our press? You see how truly informative they are about the world of respected people we would have otherwise been ignorant about. They do this by the simple feat of getting away with who/what they are.)

  42. Bulent, they should be ordered to destroy or anonymize old records. I think we are talking about regular telcos, unless the military has a separate cell phone company.

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