Army chief sees no second coup attempt in coming months

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This handout picture taken and released by the Turkey's Presidential Press Service on August 7, 2016 at Yenikapi district of Istanbul shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shaking hands with the chief of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Hulusi Akar during a rally held to protest against the July 15 failed coup. AFP PHOTO

The top commander of the Turkish military, Gen. Hulusi Akar, dismissed recent speculation in the national media about another potential coup attempt by some factions of the army, saying he sees such an attempt as very unlikely.

Speaking after retired Col. Hasan Atilla Uğur floated the idea of another coup attempt in November, bloodier than the July putsch, Akar ruled that out as highly improbable.

On July 15 a group of rogue elements within the army and air force tried to seize power but failed after two days of battles with police and citizens who took to the streets.

A majority of the military stood by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government and refused to join the mutiny, sinking the chances of the putschists who faced people in the streets.

Since July 15, Erdoğan has responded with massive purges in all state institutions, including the military, with one-third of flag officers either dismissed or arrested. The failed coup attempt has left a fractured army behind, with trust in the officer corps dismally affected by political intervention to restructure NATO’s second largest army.

Speaking to reporters at a reception held on Saturday in Ankara to mark the beginning of the new legislative year, Akar said speculation never ends but that he sees no likelihood of another attempt. On the anticipated Raqqa operation to take the city from the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Turkish commander ruled out Turkey’s participation in the campaign if Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) also takes part.

Akar said the YPG has links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara sees the YPG, a close ally of the US in the fight against ISIL in Syria, as a terrorist group due to its links to the PKK. Turkey, the US and the EU list the PKK as a terrorist organization.

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