ANKARA (AP)–Turkey’s military rejected a prosecutor’s call to investigate a top Turkish general for allegedly creating a secret force to fight Kurdish rebels–saying the accusations against the military commander were politically motivated.
Earlier this month–a prosecutor demanded that a military court investigate whether head of land forces General Yasar Buyukanit set up a secret group to fight autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels. Such a move could undermine the country’s bid to join the EU.
The accusations raised fears of a new conflict between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government and the country’s secular military–which has led three coups since 1960.
Buyukanit–who will become the military’s next chief of staff–is considered more of a hardliner than the current chief of staff. Some newspapers and politicians have called the prosecutor’s accusation an attempt by the government to block Buyukanit from becoming the next chief of staff. Many observers have speculated that Buyukanit would be more likely to clash with the Islamic-rooted governing party.
The military statement said the accusations against Buyukanit were "more political than legal and aimed at harming the Turkish Armed Forces." It said there was no need for an investigation into the general.