ANKARA, Turkey Turkey will shut down its military academies and put the armed forces under the command of the defense minister, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday in a move designed to bring the military under tighter government control after a failed coup.
The changes, some of which Erdogan said would likely be announced in the government’s official gazette by Sunday, come after more than 1,700 military personnel were dishonorably discharged this week for their role in the abortive July 15-16 putsch.
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 dishonorable discharges included around 40 percent of Turkey’s admirals and generals.
Turkey accuses U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the putsch, in which a faction of the military commandeered tanks, helicopters and fighter jets and attempted to topple the government. Erdogan has said 237 people were killed and more than 2,100 wounded.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for years, denies the charge and has condemned the coup. So far, more than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and schools have been either detained, removed