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Top admiral's resignation rattles Turkey

The demotion and then resignation of the chief of staff of the Turkish navy, Rear Adm. Cihat Yayci, has led to questions whether the Turkish government is distancing itself from Euroasianist figures to mend ties with its Western partners.

The surprising demotion and ensuing resignation of a top navy admiral, who is known as the architect of Turkey’s controversial Libya policy, came as a shock for pro-government and opposition quarters alike, leading many to wonder whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is distancing himself from influential anti-Western cliques within the Turkish army.

The relationship between Turkey's civilian governments and the military has seen many turnabouts under the rule of the Justice and Development Party, the latest of which came May 15 when a highly popular navy admiral was demoted to a lower position through a presidential decree. The chief of staff of the Turkish navy, Rear Adm. Cihat Yayci, was the first high-ranking military officer demoted by presidential decree instead of at the biannual Supreme Military Council. The admiral resigned May 18, responding to his demotion with a loaded resignation letter. 

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