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Erdoğan says no turning back from new military education system

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said there would be no turning back from a new military education system created following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, promising to strengthen the nationalist identity of the Turkish military, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“No one will dare to stand in the way of a big and powerful Turkey,” said Erdoğan during a graduation ceremony at the War Academy in Ankara.

Underlining that the National Defense University would start classes in October with 6,122 Turkish and 661 foreign students, Erdoğan said: “Thus, the restructuring process that was launched following the July 15 [coup attempt] will have been completed and our war academies will be providing a full military education.”

Erdoğan said they would not only eliminate the influence of the Gülen movement and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Turkish military but also strengthen its nationalist identity.

Immediately after the failed putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government has dismissed over 40,000 military personnel including gendarmerie and military cadets over alleged links to the movement since the 2016 coup attempt the tr724 new website reported on Aug. 4.

Following the putsch, Turkish government shut down its military academies and put the armed forces under the command of the defense minister.

Some find the Turkish government’s efforts to Islamicize the Turkish army alarming and warn that NATO risks having a member army filled with extremists.

In February of last year Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, said that many generals purged by the Turkish government are pro-NATO and pro-American, saying this could create a shift in Turkey-NATO relations.

The Turkish president was recently given the authority to make changes in the top brass of the military with a presidential decree.

Under the decree, the Turkish General Staff will fall under the jurisdiction of the Defense Ministry.

On July 9 Erdoğan appointed Hulusi Akar, the chief of general staff, as defense minister. Akar was under fire for his disputed role during the coup attempt in 2016.

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