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Turkey tells a story with major military personnel moves

Turkey's military council made some surprise decisions this week that provide insight into the president's re-election strategy.
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R), flanked by Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar (L) and the country's top generals, leaves Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, after a wreath-laying ceremony ahead of a High Military Council meeting in Ankara, Turkey, July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTSK1K6

Yesterday, Al-Monitor colleague Amberin Zaman summarized the results of the Supreme Military Council's (SMC) critical decisions on promotions of generals in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Today we will examine how these decisions might be interpreted.

First, the SMC met Aug. 2 under Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in a reconfigured format of four military and eight civilian officials. This means that civilians hold the council majority for the first time. Naturally, this also means that from now on, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — and not the military — will have the final say in SMC decisions.

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