Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new presidential decree Sunday that introduced sweeping changes to Turkey’s military in the wake of a July 15 failed coup, bringing the armed forces further under civilian authority.
The decree, the third issued under a three-month state of emergency that was declared after the attempted coup, gives the president and the prime minister the authority to issue direct orders to the commanders of the army, the air force and the navy.
It also announced the discharge of 1,389 military personnel, including the chief of general staff’s charge d’affaires, the defense minister’s chief secretary and Erdogan’s chief military adviser, who was arrested days after the attempted coup.
Authorities have continued to search for army personnel suspected of participation in the failed coup.
A night-time operation outside the Aegean resort town of Marmaris in the early hours of Monday captured nine people suspected of being part of a group that raided a hotel at which Erdogan had been staying during the coup.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said that gunfire was exchanged during the operation and that three suspects were still on the run. Television video showed armed forces running through forest roads while a helicopter hovered overhead.
More than 10,000 people have been arrested in the crackdown, most of whom are military personnel. Thousands more have been detained, and nearly 70,000 people have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the education, media, health care, military and judicial sectors. Turkey’s soccer federation said Sunday that every member of its committees had tendered his or her resignations “for the well-being of the ongoing security investigation.”
The changes are part of a broad crackdown in the aftermath of the abortive putsch, which Erdogan blames on U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, denies any knowledge of the attempt to overthrow the government.