Erdoğan approves retirement for anti-putsch general

During Wednesday’s regular meeting of Turkey’s Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), the body ordered the retirement of General Ümit Dündar, Land Forces Commander for the Turkish Armed Forces, due to his advanced age, daily BirGün reported.

The report added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has approved the decisions made in the YAŞ 2021, including the retirement of 29 generals and admirals. Duties for 44 generals and admirals were extended for one year, and 320 colonels for two years.

Going into force on Aug. 30, 17 generals and admirals were promoted to the next rank and 56 colonels were promoted to general and admiral positions.

First Army Commander Musa Avsever was appointed Land  Forces Commander to replace General Dündar. Air Forces Commander General Hasan Küçükakyüz and Naval Forces Commander Admiral Adnan Özbal will remain in their positions for one more year.

Avsever first rose to the rank of general in 2003, when he was appointed brigadier general. He was promoted to full general and appointed First Army Commander in the YAŞ meeting held two weeks after the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

In the same meeting, Dündar had been appointed Deputy Chief of General Staff, following his pivotal role in stopping the attempted putsch.

Dündar was rumoured to have asked Erdoğan to travel to Istanbul during the coup attempt so he could protect him. When Erdoğan asked Dündar how he could trust him, the general told the president to “ask Devlet Bahçeli”, the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Erdoğan’s close ally. Daily Sözcü reported on the conversation at the time, citing MHP deputies, but Dündar later denied it took place during parliamentary commission hearings, daily Hürriyet reported.

Dündar briefly served as the proxy Chief of General Staff, when Hulusi Akar (currently serving as Turkey’s defence minister) was held captive by putschists during the night of the attempt.

Among the retired admirals was Mehmet Sarı, whose photos wearing special religious clothing used by an Islamic order led to a disciplinary investigation and his eventual suspension last week, according to a report by state broadcaster TRT.

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