Turkey’s president reforms military after failed coup
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new presidential decree July 31 that introduced sweeping reforms to Turkey’s military in the wake of a July 15 failed coup, bringing the Turkish armed forces further under civilian authority.
The decree, the third to have been issued after a three-month state of emergency was declared following the attempted coup, gives the president and prime minister the authority to issue direct orders to the commanders of the army, air force and navy.
It also announces the discharge of 1,389 military personnel, including Erdogan’s chief military adviser who had been arrested days after the attempted putsch, the Chief of General Staff’s charge d’affaires and the defense minister’s chief secretary.
It puts the force commands directly under the defense ministry, puts all military hospitals under the authority of the health ministry instead of the military, and also expands the Supreme Military Council _ the body which makes decisions on military affairs and appointments _ to include the deputy prime ministers and the justice, foreign and interior ministers.
The document, published in the official gazette Sunday, also shuts down all military schools, academies and non-commissioned officer training institutes and establishes a new national defense university to train officers.
In the wake of the attempted coup, which killed more than 200 people, Erdogan launched a sweeping crackdown on those believed linked to the movement of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of instigating the coup. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, denies any knowledge of the coup.
More than 10,000 have been arrested in the crackdown, most of whom are military personnel. Thousands more have been detained while nearly 70,000 people have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the education, media, health care, military and judiciary sectors.
In an interview with private A Haber television Saturday, Erdogan said he also wanted to put the country’s intelligence agency MIT and the chief of general staff’s headquarters under the presidency.
“If we can pass this small constitution package with (the opposition parties), then the chief of general staff and MIT will be tied to the president,” Erdogan told A Haber.
The package would need to be brought to parliament for a vote. AP
Marine Corps IDs pilot killed in California training crash
The Marine Corps has named a pilot killed when his F/A-18C fighter jet crashed in the Southern California desert.
The Marines say 36-year-old Maj. Richard Norton of Arcadia, a Los Angeles suburb, was killed July 29.
Norton was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the San Diego area.
The Marines said July 30 that Norton’s twin-engine Hornet crashed during a close air support mission. It was part of a pre-deployment training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms east of Los Angeles.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Norton joined the Marines in 2005 and served in Afghanistan four years ago. He also had several deployments to Japan. AP