24 August 2010 /TODAY’S ZAMAN WITH WIRES
Outgoing Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who will retire at the end of this month, paid a farewell visit to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday.
Erdoğan received Gen. Başbuğ at the Prime Ministry. After the meeting, which lasted one hour and 45 minutes, the prime minister bid farewell to Gen. Başbuğ at the exit of the Prime Ministry. The meeting was the longest farewell visit by a military chief to Erdoğan. When they retired, Erdoğan met with former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt for 50 minutes and with former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök for half an hour.
Başbuğ will be replaced by Land Forces Commander Gen. Işık Koşaner. Yesterday also saw a ceremony for the handing over of the post of 1st Army Corps commander from Gen. Hasan Iğsız to Gen. Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu, who was previously serving as the commander of the Aegean Army. Gen. Iğsız, who was hoping to assume the post of land forces commander in accordance with the traditional military hierarchy, was at the center of a disagreement between the military and civilian wings of the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) this year. Since he was not promoted to land forces commander as a result of Erdoğan’s open refusal to approve his promotion due to his suspected involvement in a plot against the government, Gen. Iğsız will now retire. The outgoing general delivered a speech during the ceremony yesterday. “I do not know how it seems from outside, but when I look back I see a half century [as an officer] which makes me proud of myself and when I was able to preserve my self-respect by committing to my principles and truths. This is the biggest reward of my career. Now I am about to end my profession with the feeling of confidence that I fulfilled my duty,” he said.