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General Ilker Basbug to overtake Turkish army chief post, as expected
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1748 days ago | Tuesday, 5th August , 2008 , 00:50 [am] | Azerbaijan
|.|| U.S. PERSPECTIVE
Basbug desires that relations with the United States should be in a form that protects Turkey’s interests. He has criticized the U.S. in the past over its slow reaction to incidents relating to the outlawed PKK; however recent progress between Turkey and the U.S. on this issue has
Turkey’s Supreme Military Council assigned Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug as the new army chief on Monday and he will overtake the position from Gen. Yasar Buyukanit on August 30.
Basbug will fill the post of General Staff Chief for two years, reaching the retirement age limit in 2010, and will be replaced by newly-appointed Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner. Admiral Metin Atac will continue to serve as the Commander of Naval Forces, and Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu will continue to serve as Air Forces for one year.
The new appointments on the top command line came at a critical time as the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) just survived a closure case and faces growing pressure to address both domestic and international issues.
This is the first meeting of the Supreme Military Council for some time in which no military officer was discharged due to reactionary or indisciplinary acts.
The relations between the military and the government are expected to change as Basbug is seen a different commander to his predecessors.
He thinks it is important to have connections and to establish dialogue with the government, as well as with other state organs. He also does not get involved in any debates through the media, excluding international issues.
The new appointments on the top command line came at a critical time as the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) just survived from a closure case and faces growing pressure to address both domestic and international issues.
The relations between the military and the government are expected to continue in a different form as Basbug seen a different commander than his predecessors.
He thinks it is important to have a connections and to establish dialogue with the government, as well as with other state organs. He also does not get involved in any debates through the media, excluding international issues.
KEEPING ARMY OUT OF POLITICS
Basbug is expected to distance the Turkish Armed Forces from politics. However, it would not be surprising to see him make harsh statements in the case the red lines of the Turkish Armed Forces, including the unitary structure of the republic and secularism, are crossed during his term.
FIGHT AGAINST TERROR
Basbug is very experienced in the fight against terror, an issue he sees as a priority, and is determined to continue the armed struggle during his term. Turkey’s operations against the PKK continue, and the Turkish army will undertake similar operations with determination until reaching an absolute outcome, he had earlier said.
He is also expected to pay a comprehensive visit to the Turkeyâ€™s terror-hit southeast region to show that he gives much importance to the issue.
Basbug sees an ongoing, planned and tireless effort to fray the revolutionary reforms of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and thinks reactionary movements that threaten the republic have started to become a cause for concern.
“It is the mission of “everyone who feels he is a member of Turkish nation” to claim and protect the republic’s basic characteristics of democracy, secularism, social and rule of law. The Turkish Armed Forces has always been a party for protecting this body and these characteristics and will continue to be so… It is a reactionary attitude to act in a manner against the Turkish revolution… I need to confess with deep sorrow that the reactionary threat has reached a point of concern, it is even not accepted by some segment of society,” Basbug said in the speech he delivered at the Military Academy in 2007.
CALLS FOR COMMON SENSE
Basbug usually adopts an approach to urge for common sense in periods of high-tension. Recently he held a tet-a-tet meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan when the tension over the case before the courts reached a peak and called on the media not to pressure the judiciary. He also called for common sense during Turkey’s ground operation against the PKK in northern Iraq in February.
Basbug desires that relations with the United States should be in a form that protects Turkey’s interests. He has criticized the U.S. in the past over its slow reaction to incidents relating to the outlawed PKK; however recent progress between Turkey and the U.S. on this issue has given him a more positive outlook.
He also prefers relations with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, be held within a more controlled framework.
REACTIVE AGAINST EU IF NEEDED
Basbug is also expected to maintain his stance towards the European Union and not hesitate to show his reactions at times he deems necessary.
NO CONSESSIONS FOR ATHENS
Basbug is not expected to offer any concessions or show a softening in regard to relations with Greece. Basbug is likely to stick Turkey’s formal declaration that any attempt by Greece to increase the territorial waters to 12 miles would be ‘casus belli’. He also is not expected to support speedy action in regard in relations with Armenia.
Basbug, 65, was born in Turkey’s southwestern province of Afyonkarahisar and is married with two children. He served as an infantry officer and is experienced in international diplomacy. He speaks English since he worked in the foreign representatives of Turkey for more than six years. He is known to be a prolific reader and closely monitors the world press daily.hurrieyt, Voice of a Nation