Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new presidential decree Sunday that introduced sweeping changes to Turkey’s military in the wake of a July 15 failed coup, bringing the armed forces further under civilian authority.
The decree, the third issued under a three-month state of emergency declared after the attempted coup, gives the president and prime minister the authority to issue direct orders to the commanders of the army, air force and navy.
It also announces the discharge of 1,389 military personnel, including Erdogan’s chief military adviser, who had been arrested days after the attempted coup, the Chief of General Staff’s charge d’affaires and the defence minister’s chief secretary.
The presidential decree puts the military commands directly under the defence ministry, puts all military hospitals under the authority of the health ministry, and also expands the Supreme Military Council — the body that makes decisions on military affairs and appointments — to include Turkey’s deputy prime ministers and its justice, foreign and interior ministers.
The document, published in the official gazette Sunday, also shuts down all military schools, academies and non-commissioned officer training institutes and establishes a new national defence university to train officers.
On Sunday afternoon, thousands held an anti-coup rally in the German city of Cologne, waving Turkish flags and holding banners with Erdogan’s picture.
In the wake of the attempted coup, which killed more than 200 people, Erdogan launched a sweeping crackdown on those believed linked to the movement of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of instigating the coup. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, denies any knowledge of the attempt to overthrow the government.
More than 10,000 people have been arrested in the crackdown, most of whom are military personnel.
Thousands more have been detained and nearly 70,000 people have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the education, media, health care, military and judicial sectors. On Sunday, Turkey’s soccer federation said every member of its committees had tendered their resignations “for the well-being of the ongoing security investigation.”
In an interview Saturday with private A Haber television, Erdogan said he also wanted to put the country’s MIT intelligence agency and the chief of general staff’s headquarters under the presidency.
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