Troubling Turkey

by Michael Rubin

A couple stories percolating up from Turkey over the Turkey day weekend.

  • Turkey suspends secularist generals:  Interior Minister Beşir Atalay suspended gendarmerie Maj. Gen. Halil Helvacıoğlu on Monday and Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül did the same for Maj. Gen. Gürbüz Kaya and Rear Adm. Abdullah Gavremoğlu on Wednesday. The three officers applied to the military’s Supreme Administrative Court to annul the decisions later Wednesday. According to backstage rumors, the move sends a clear message from the government to the military that the path for promotions for the generals in question has been closed ahead of the Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, to be held on Nov. 30. The Law on Turkish Armed Forces Personnel states that military officers who have been suspended cannot be promoted. The ministers suspended the three military personnel under Article 65 of the Law on Turkish Armed Forces Personnel. The repercussions of the suspension of three senior military officers by Atalay and Gönül continued Thursday. Asked to comment on the issue Thursday, Gönül cited Article 65 but declined to make any further comment on the suspensions. Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin, meanwhile, criticized the main opposition party’s remarks that the move was a “civil coup” or “revenge.”
  • Turkish Prime Minister Bashes Israel from Lebanon.  Turkey’s prime minister called on Israel to apologize for its mistakes in the region in a speech he gave in Lebanon on Wednesday, adding Turkey would do its best to avert a fresh armed flare-up in Lebanon. “We will go on to raise our voice against those massacring innocent people and children. We will call a killer a killer when needed,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the Lebanese Turkmen village Kouachra, near the Lebanese capital of Beirut.  Erdoğan’s remarks came at the beginning of a two-day official visit to Beirut on Wednesday.  [Ed: Erdogan has never criticized Hezbollah or Hamas for their terrorism].

  • And Mazel Tov to Prime Minister Erdogan for winning the Muammar Qadhafi human rights award, second only in prestige to the Captain Joseph Hazelwood environmental prize and the Chernobyl Award for Nuclear Safety.

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