The Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) will begin today amid questions surrounding the promotion of generals who have run afoul of the government, as well as resignations from the army in protest at cases involving senior officers Hurriyetdailynews reported .
There have been more meetings than usual between civilian and military leaders this week, with President Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel bringing ahead their usual Thursday meeting to July 31. Likewise, Erdogan and Ozel held a meeting on July 30 that lasted longer than half an hour. There was additional speculation after Ozel visited Erdogan's office for a five-minute-long meeting on July 31 soon after his meeting with Gul.
In the evening, Erdogan and Ozel also gathered for an iftar to be hosted at the General Staff headquarters for members of YAŞ.
In last few days, heralding a likely source of unease before the YAŞ meeting to be presided over by Erdogan, several news reports were published about resignations of top commanders from the Air Force which have reportedly been in the pipeline.
The promotions of more than 20 generals and admirals who are on trial in cases such as the Ergenekon and "Balyoz" (Seldgehammer) coup plot cases and a military espionage case or are subject to investigations concerning unknown murders will be reviewed at this YAŞ meeting. Such members are expected to depart into retirement as a result of decisions at the YAŞ meeting.
There are also questions circulating around the future of Chief of Gendarmerie Forces Gen. Bekir Kalyoncu.
According to customary practice, Kalyoncu would be expected to replace the current chief of the Land Forces, a usual step before becoming the chief of the General Staff following a two-year long tenure.
If appointed as the new chief of the Land Forces, Kalyoncu will be eligible to become the top commander.
Yet, according to a daily Hurriyet report from yesterday, there is speculation that the government does not approve of Kalyoncu's promotion because his name was mentioned in testimonies by defendants in the Ergenekon case as a figure involved in operations run by the Ergenekon gang.
Earlier this week, several newspapers reported that Lt. Gen. Nezih Damcı of the Air Force submitted his petition for resignation and went on leave. Damcı has been particularly irritated about being targeted by pro-government newspapers for his reported involvement in the Uludere massacre of December 2011, when 34 civilian villagers were killed in an air strike near the Turkish-Iraqi border after being allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants as they smuggled goods from northern Iraq into Turkey.
According to Hurriyet's report, Damcı's resignation from the Air Force was received by the General Staff command just yesterday, only hours before today's meeting.
Also at the meeting, the situation of jailed military officers due to allegations in the Ergenekon, Balyoz and military espionage trials will be clarified. In previous YAŞ meetings, the promotions of the generals in custody were suspended. Currently, 235 commissioned and non-commissioned officers, in addition to 15 generals and admirals, are under arrest.
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