ANKARA — Turkey’s top military council on Thursday named a new chief of the general staff and land and air forces commanders, in a reshuffle that also saw the appointment of Turkey’s first-ever female admiral.
Chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s Supreme Military Council appointed Gokcen Firat to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) in the Turkish naval forces.
According to Turkish media reports, Firat, 45, became Turkey’s first-ever female ship commander in 2004 after graduating from Naval War College in 1998.
Metin Gurak, who formerly served as the commander of the 2nd Army Corps, will become the country’s new chief of the general staff, a post that has been officially vacant since his predecessor, Yasar Guler, became the country’s new defense minister.
The heads of the air and land forces were also replaced, according to the Turkish presidency’s communication directorate.
Selcuk Bayraktaroglu and Ziya Cemal Kadioglu will become the country’s new land and air forces commanders, respectively.
The council promoted 63 officers to the rank of generals or admirals, raising the total number serving in the Turkish military to 286. Forty-three generals and admirals, meanwhile, were granted retirement.
Political commentator Murat Yetkin, who closely follows the defense field, described the new army top brass as “younger and more combat-oriented,” in line with Erdogan’s long-term political goals.
“It seems that Erdogan took a step to redesign the army, with the combat-oriented cadres becoming more prominent,” Yetkin said.
“If Turkey can recover its economy, it can expand to new horizons in foreign and security policy,” he added, arguing that Erdogan was seeking to take a long-term view during his new five-year term with a cadre that is more combat-oriented and far from the mandatory 65-year retirement age.
Yetkin also recalled that Gurak coordinated the Turkish military operations against the Kurdish militants and Islamic State as the commander of the 2nd Army Corps.
Source : AlMonitor