Turkey’s military command echelon resigned late Friday from their posts amid an ongoing spat with the government over the growing number of arrested generals. The mass resignations, which marked a first in the country’s history, immediately caused a state crisis.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner, Land Forces Commander Gen. Erdal Ceylanoğlu, Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay and Naval Forces Commander Adm. Eşref Uğur Yiğit quit their posts days before the Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, was supposed to meet to discuss key military promotions. Koşaner had another two years left in the office.
Gendarmerie Forces Commander Necdet Özel did not resign.
The resignations came hours after a prosecutor demanded the arrest of a top military official, Gen. Hüseyin Nusret Taşdeler, the commander of the Aegean Army. Sources said disagreements over promotions and the arrests of numerous generals peaked to an unacceptable level following the legal action against Taşdeler.
Tensions between the military and the government have been high in recent years as hundreds of high-ranking officers were put behind bars in the ongoing “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon coup-plot cases.