Turkish military to enlist 30,000 new personnel after purge

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Turkish National Defense Minister Fikri Işık performs a test-fire with MPT-76 National Infantry Rifle during the delivery ceremony in Kirikkale, Turkey on January 11, 2017. Evrim Aydin / Anadolu Agency

Amid criticism that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is pushing the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) away from NATO, Defense Minister Fikri Işık has said 30,000 new people will be enlisted in the TSK, the Star daily reported.

“This week 174 Air Forces Academy students started their education. We are continuing to conduct interviews. A total of 30,000 new people will be part of the TSK,” said Işık during a party meeting in Kocaeli on Saturday.

Although the Turkish military stated on July 27 that 8,651 military members including cadets and conscripts took part in a July 15 coup attempt, Minister Işık told the state-run Anadolu news agency on Dec. 11 that the government had dismissed a total of 22,085 military personnel including high-ranking generals over alleged links with the Gülen movement.

Regulations that task retired officers and noncommissioned officers with recruiting cadets and military personnel went into effect last month amid debates that it was a gift to SADAT A.S. International Defense Consulting, which has also been called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “secret army.”

According to new regulations based on state of emergency decree No: 678 issued on Nov. 22, 2016 by the AKP government, retired officers and noncommissioned officers are to be given the responsibilities of recruitment until Dec. 31, 2020.

“SADAT, which consists of retired military personnel who were called the AK militia and which was said to be responsible for civilian killings on July 15, now will officially be responsible for profiling and recruiting members. Moreover, they will be paid for these activities,” said an article published by the Aktif Haber news website on Saturday.
SADAT was directed by retired Brig. Gen. Adnan Tanrıverdi, who was recently appointed as an adviser to President Erdoğan.

According to columnist Abdullah Bozkurt, who calls SADAT Erdoğan’s private army, the man who Bozkurt says is still in charge, Tanrıverdi, is the point man who will reshape NATO’s largest army after the US by steering recruitment policy until 2020.

Tanrıverdi is known for his Islamist ideology and has counseled Erdoğan for years although in an unofficial capacity, Bozkurt wrote for Turkish Minute on Nov. 25.

A report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although President Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup on the faith-based Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper on Jan. 17.

The Aldrimer.no website reported on Jan. 25 that NATO sources believe the coup was staged by the president of Turkey himself.

Speaking to vocaleurope.com, a former Turkish officer who served at NATO headquarters in Brussels but was sacked and recalled to Turkey as part of an investigation into the failed coup on July 15 claims that the putsch was clumsily executed and never intended to bring down the government, but rather served as a vehicle for President Erdoğan to eliminate opponents and the ultranationalists to take a prominent role in the military and impose their “Eurasian” agenda on the country.

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