Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Turkey appoints new military chief

From Al Jazeera:

Turkey has selected a secularist general and strong advocate of Nato as the country's next military commander.

General Ilker Basbug, 65, will replace the current army chief, General Yasar Buyukanit at the end of August, the army announced in a statement on Monday.


Seen by Turks to be a hawkish general who is likely to avoid open confrontation with the governing AK party, Basbug's approach differs from that of his predecessor, who often clashed publicly with the government.

"Unlike the often impulsive incumbent ... Buyukanit, Basbug is known for his cool and calculating nature," Wolfango Piccoli, an analyst at political risk think-tank Eurasia Group, said.

"The result will be less likelihood of abrupt escalations in civil-military tension, but at the same time more effective political pressure from the military."

Basbug is regarded as one of the most outstanding officers of his generation, combining a strong intellect with a deep commitment to Turkish secularist, Piccoli said.

"He will occupy the post for the next two years, and is likely to prove a formidable opponent for the AK party," he said.

See the rest of it on Al Jazeera

See also the Herald Tribune

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