Turkey Names New Commanders in Military Shakeup

Posted August 4th, 2011 at 9:55 am (UTC-5)
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Turkey has named four new generals to lead its armed forces, after the country's top military commanders resigned last week. They had quit to protest the arrests of fellow officers accused of plotting coups.

President Abdullah Gul Thursday approved the appointment of a new chief of staff, as well as new commanders to head the navy, army and air force. He made the announcement at the end of a key four-day meeting of the Supreme Military Council.

General Necdet Ozel, former head of the military police, was named the new chief of staff to replace General Isik Kosaner. Ozel had been made the acting chief of staff on Friday, hours after Kosaner resigned. General Mehmet Erten was promoted to head the air force, General Hayri Kivrikoglu becomes the commander of land forces and Admiral Emin Bilgel will lead the navy.

A presidential spokesman says the new appointments are expected to be easily confirmed by the Cabinet.

More than 200 officers have been charged in connection with alleged anti-government plots dating back to 2003. Most are in jail.

Tensions between Turkey's secularist military and the Islamist-rooted government have been building for years. The Turkish army has forced four governments from power since 1960.