Goldman Sachs says Turkey military resignations serve democracy

August 01, 2011, Monday/ 12:48:00

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has said the resignation of Turkey's four top generals last week is unlikely to lead to a major crisis and that the resignations show that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is consolidating civilian control over the country, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

“Turkey's civil society structures are currently being consolidated, helping to strengthen its democracy,” Goldman analysts, including Ahmet Akarlı and Clemens Grafe, said in a research report.

More protest resignations may follow and vacancies will quickly be filled by the government, making it unlikely that “political noise” will turn into a “full blown political crisis,” the analysts said. “What is happening here is basically that the ruling party is making it clear that the army, by constitution, is accountable before the civilian authorities.”

Last Friday, Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner and the heads of the army, navy and air force announced their retirement to protest the government's refusal to promote generals who are currently suspects in ongoing coup trials.

As he announced in his decision, Koşaner expressed his anger over the arrest of senior officers, accused of plotting coups, shortly before a round of military promotions. He was mostly critical of the trial into the so-called “Sledgehammer” conspiracy. The military chief wanted to go ahead with the scheduled annual promotions for some of the officers implicated, but the government refused.

Following the resignations, the government immediately appointed Gendarmerie General Command Gen. Necdet Özel as land forces commander and the acting chief of General Staff. He is expected to be officially appointed as the new military chief of the country at the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting that began on Monday.

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