A prosecutor's call to investigate a top Turkish general for allegedly creating a secret force to fight Kurdish rebels -- which could undermine the country's bid to join the EU -- has raised fears of new conflict between the government and the country's powerful military.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to calm tensions, telling lawmakers from his party at a weekly meeting on Tuesday that he disapproved of the recent criticisms of the military. The secular military, which has led three coups since 1960 is deeply suspicious of Erdogan's party which has roots in Turkey's Islamic movement and the prime minister has been keen to limit friction with the generals.
"No one will gain anything through efforts to make this country's military appear weak through its esteemed commanders," Erdogan said.
At issue is a prosecutor's demand that a military court investigate whether General Yasar Buyukanit, the head of land forces and the general slated to take over as chief of the military staff in August, set up a secret group to fight autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels.
Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya's call -- which was part of a broader sealed indictment alleging soldiers were behind a November bombing that targeted a rebel supporter -- was leaked to the Turkish media.
Officials at the prosecutors office were not immediately available for comment.
Newspapers reported that the indictment said the bomb attack was part of a plan by security forces to stoke tensions in the overwhelmingly Kurdish southeast and undermine Turkey's bid for EU membership. The EU demands that Turkey grant Kurds greater rights and stabilize the southeast.
Buyukanit denied the allegations and was quoted as telling the Hurriyet newspaper that he is prepared to defend himself in court.
The possibility of a commander of the revered Turkish military having to answer charges in court has raised fears of conflict between the government and the generals.
Buyukanit is considered more of a hardliner than the current chief of staff and some newspapers and politicians have called Sarikaya's indictment an attempt by the government to block Buyukanit from becoming the next chief of staff. Many observers have speculated that Buyukanit would be more likely to clash with the Islamic-rooted governing party.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s