This photo taken on July 29, 2016, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) standing in front of guards during his visit to the Police Special Operation Department’s Headquarters in Ankara. ©AFP
Turkey sacked nearly 1,400 military personnel suspected of having links with US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the recent botched coup in the country.
The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday that a number of senior military officials were among the 1,389 personnel dismissed, without providing further details.
The new dismissals follow a previous post-putsch expulsion of 1,684 military personnel, including 149 generals and admirals.
The dismissals were the latest in a series of purges related to the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. So far, over 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and schools have been detained, removed or suspended over suspected Gulen links.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries when an army faction, using hijacked helicopters and tanks, clashed with government troops and people on the streets of the capital, Ankara, and the city of Istanbul.
Shortly after the coup bid was declared over on July 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of being behind the coup attempt. The opposition figure has, however, denied any role in the foiled putsch.
The new measure came only a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he plans to introduce amendments to the constitution, and put the Turkey’s spy agency as well as the military chief of staff under his own control.
Erdogan added that he wants to close the nation’s military academies, stressing that the proposals would be brought before parliament.
This photo taken on July 29, 2016, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shaking hands with guards during his visit to the Police Special Operation Department’s Headquarters in Ankara. ©AFP
“We are going to introduce a small constitutional package which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and chief of staff under the control of the presidency,” Erdogan told Turkey’s A Haber television news network.
“Military schools will be shut down... we will establish a national defense university,” he said.
The Turkish president noted that the size of the country’s gendarmerie security forces would be cut, but their weaponry would be upgraded.
He also said that in future the heads of the land, sea and air forces will report directly to the defense minister.
Erdogan expressed discontent with the information received from the MIT and its chief Hakan Fidan on the night of the putsch. “There was unfortunately in all of this a serious intelligence failure,” the Turkish president complained.
The Turkish president would now need a two-thirds majority in the parliament to push through the constitutional changes, meaning that he has to secure support from opposition parties.

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