Turkish President Vows No Military Power Vacuum

Posted July 30th, 2011 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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Turkish President Abdullah Gul says the resignation of Turkey's entire military command Friday will not cause a crisis.

Mr. Gul spoke to reporters Saturday in Ankara. He said the resignations were “extraordinary,” but said there will be no power vacuum.

General Necdet Ozel was appointed Turkey's top military commander Saturday.

The head of the armed forces, General Isik Kosaner,and the army, naval and air commanders resigned amid escalating tensions between the secularist military and Islamic-rooted government.

The resignations came after Kosaner met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Gul to discuss key promotions of military staff at a meeting of the Supreme Military Council next week. Mr. Erdogan is reported to have signaled he would block promotions for officers he believed were part of a conspiracy to bring down his government.

Authorities have detained more than 300 people as part of a wide-reaching investigation into alleged plots to undermine the government. Some 200 active and retired military officers, including 30 generals, have been charged in the probe. Most of the officers who have been charged are being held in prison.

Kosaner said in his resignation statement that he cannot defend the rights of those military men who are unfairly imprisoned.