31, July 2016
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says from now on all military commanders will report directly to the country’s defense minister and that all military academies will be closed. During an interview with the Turkish broadcaster A Haber on Saturday, Erdogan said that the new measures were aimed at bringing the military under full civilian control. He added that the military academies would be replaced with a national defense university.
“We are going to introduce a small constitutional package (to parliament) which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and chief of staff under the control of the presidency,” he said. Erdogan also announced cuts in the size of the country’s gendarmerie security forces along with upgrades to their weaponry. He also noted that his lawyers had started work on withdrawing lawsuits against persons who had insulted him.
The Turkish president has filed hundreds of court cases against critics, including many journalists, for insulting him since he took office in August 2014. On Friday, he had announced that in the spirit of “unity” following the coup he would revoke the said lawsuits. Earlier, Turkish authorities announced the release of over 750 soldiers who were detained following the failed coup, noting that 231 soldiers still remain in custody.