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Turkish military promotes 99 colonels in shake-up

Erdogan told Reuters in an interview last week that the military, Nato’s second biggest, needed fresh blood.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivering a speech as Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, as Hulusi Akar stands next to him during his condolence visit at the General Staff headquarters in Ankara. Turkish security forces on July 16, 2016 rescued the country’s top army general in an operation in Ankara after a coup attempt, taking him to a safe location, the private CNN-Turk television reported. Picture: AFP.

ANKARA - Turkey's top military council promoted 99 colonels to the rank of general or admiral and put 48 generals into retirement in its annual shake-up, the military said on Friday, although the top brass was little changed after this month's failed coup attempt.

President Tayyip Erdogan approved the council's key decisions, leaving armed forces chief Hulusi Akar and the army, navy and air force commanders in their posts, Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin separately told reporters late on Thursday.

The annual meeting of the Supreme Military Council, chaired by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and including the top brass, followed the dishonourable discharge of nearly 1,700 military personnel over their alleged roles in the abortive putsch on 15-16 July.

Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death on the night of the coup, told Reuters in an interview last week that the military, Nato's second biggest, needed "fresh blood".

The dishonourable discharges included around 40% of Turkey's admirals and generals.

A statement on the armed forces' website said that, alongside the promotion of 99 colonels, 16 generals and admirals were promoted and the terms of 20 generals and admirals were extended by a year. The statement made no reference to the coup.

Among the limited changes in the most senior commanders, the deputy armed forces chief General Yasar Guler was appointed commander of Turkey's gendarmerie force, while the head of the prestigious First Army, General Umit Dundar, replaced him as Akar's second-in-command, the presidential spokesman said.

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