Ankara: Turkey’s president has said he wants to close the nation’s military academies and put the spy agency and the military chief of staff under his own control.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the proposals would be brought before parliament. The measures are the latest in a large-scale crackdown launched after the failed coup on 15 July. The authorities say Fethullah Gulen was behind the army-led coup in which at least 246 people died. The US-based cleric denies the allegation.
“We are going to introduce a small constitutional package which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) and chief of staff under the control of the presidency,” President Erdogan told Turkey’s A Haber television on Saturday. “Military schools will be shut down we will establish a national defence university,” he said.
The president added that the size of the gendarmerie would be cut, but its weaponry would be increased. Mr Erdogan needs a two-thirds majority for the proposals to be adopted and therefore will have to secure support from opposition parties.
Turkey announced a military reshuffle on Thursday, including the dishonorable discharge of 1,700 military servicemen. About 40% of generals and admirals have been discharged since the coup. More than 66,000 public sector workers have been dismissed from their posts and 50,000 passports cancelled, while the labor ministry is investigating 1,300 of its staff. The state has shut 142 media outlets and detained several journalists. A three-month state of emergency has also been declared across the country. President Erdogan has also stepped up his attacks on nations criticising his actions, telling them to “mind your own business”. He has accused US Gen Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, of being “on the side of the coup plotters”. Gen Votel responded by saying that any reports that he was involved in the abortive coup were “unfortunate and completely inaccurate.