Through a state of emergency decree issued Jan. 10, the Turkish government transferred some critical powers of the chief of the General Staff to the civilian minister of defense. Although the move passed without much debate, its importance cannot be disregarded. The powers transferred constitute the nerve endings of the military tutelage that ruled over Turkey for many years. The decree concentrates military power in a single civilian office.
The previously all-powerful chief of the general staff will no longer appoint branch commanders, decide on the number of generals and admirals, set the time, location and agenda of the Supreme Military Council, or determine promotions for senior staff. These new arrangements are not the only steps taken after the July 15 coup attempt aimed at bringing the military under civilian political authority. In the immediate aftermath of the failed coup, gendarmerie were removed from the jurisdiction of the army command, and top force commanders of the army, navy and air force were detached from the chief of the general staff and put under the defense minister. Military staff colleges and military high schools were closed, and the army, navy and air force academies that train cadets to be officers were consolidated into a new, civilian-run university.