Turkey's Military Chiefs of Staff Step Down

Move shows deep rift with government
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2011 12:53 PM CDT
In this May 19, 2011 file photo, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, left, and Chief of Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner, in Ankara, Turkey.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

(Newser) – The chiefs of staff of Turkey's military stepped down today as tensions dramatically increased over the arrest of dozens of officers accused of plotting to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government. The resignations of Turkey's top general, Isik Kosaner, along with the country's navy, army, and air force commanders, came hours after a court charged 22 suspects, including several generals and officers, with carrying out an Internet campaign to undermine the government. The commanders asked to be retired, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

The resignation of so many top commanders for the first time ever in Turkey signals a deep rift with the government, which has been confident in confronting a military that once held sway over Turkish political life. The arrests of high-ranking military officers would once have been unimaginable. Click for more background.

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