Turkey approves new Army chiefs: Report

Turkish President has approved the nominations of the new top Army chiefs.

Ankara: Turkish President Abdullah Gul has approved the nominations of the new top Army chiefs, putting an end to the latest power struggle between the government and the military, a news report said on Monday.

Gul late yesterday signed off on General Isik Kosaner, the current commander of land forces, as the new Army chief of staff replacing general Ilker Basbug who is retiring, the Anatolia news agency said.

The new head of land forces will be General Erdal Ceylanoglu, the agency said.

Turkey had been expected to announce a new Army chief and land forces` commander on Wednesday at the end of a four-day meeting of the Supreme Military Council, but the two posts were left vacant in the final list of promotions.

Media reports said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had vetoed the military`s initial choice for land forces commander, General Hasan Igsiz, because he was implicated in an alleged campaign to discredit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Earlier yesterday, Erdogan said the Turkish government and the military had reached a deal on the appointments although he did not name the new lands forces chief.

The government`s rejection of the initial candidate was largely seen as a mark of the ebbing power of the once-untouchable Army and a boost to efforts to strengthen civilian power.

The military, which sees itself as the guardian of Turkey`s secular system, has been locked in a test of strength with the AKP, the moderate offshoot of a banned Islamist movement which came to power in 2002.


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