How to weaken your armed forces the Turkish way.

Defensionem Countries How to weaken your armed forces the Turkish way.

Following the failed coup against Erdogan in 2016, the Turkish armed forces have been on the receiving end of neverending purges. An estimated 3,000 soldiers and over 100 generals and admirals have been arrested since then.

Erdogan’s wrath also fell on the Air Force: He hasn’t forgotten that a Turkish F-16 tailed his plane during the coup and could have shot him down… In total, 300 Turkish F-16 pilots have been dismissed following the coup. A decision which resulted in many Turkish F-16 being grounded due to the lack of qualified pilots to fly them!

The situation had become so bad by 2018 that the Turkish government issued a decree recalling 330 retired pilots and threatening them with revocation of their civilian pilot license should they decline the “offer” to come back into the air force!

Some analysts actually say that Erdogan purchased the S-400 system from Moscow not to protect his country from a potential foreign attack, but to protect himself from his own Air Force!

In any case, in August 2019, 127 new generals and admirals were appointed. This means that 127 other generals and admirals were retired or dismissed…

Interestingly, Lieutenant-General seems to be the new glass ceiling in the army: Most Generals dismissed or retired were replaced by Lieutenant-Generals. And no new Lieutenant General were appointed Generals. Many of the generals dismissed or retired have been so despite not yet having completed their years of service.

The air force and land component of the Turkish armed forces are not the only services to suffer at the hands of the Turkish leadership: in December 2019, Erdogan got himself a new yacht: The Yakamoz.

The “Sultan” did not buy himself a new presidential ship, he “acquired” it from the Turkish Navy. The Yakamoz was until now used as a training ship…

Looks like the Turkish Navy will be a training ship short, from now on!

It looks like the Turkish president is really hell-bent on emasculating his own armed forces, purging them of secular leaders and replacing them with younger more loyal elements. However, those men are less experienced and held on a tight leash. This will hurt the capabilities of the Turkish army, which is the 2nd biggest army within NATO behind the US army!

SIRNAK, TURKEY – SEPTEMBER 29: Turkish Armed Forces conducts military drill on its twelfth day, near Habur border gate, on Turkish-Iraqi border in Silopi district of Sirnak province, Turkey on September 29, 2017. ( Fatih AktaƟ – Anadolu Agency )
Renaud Mayers
Currently working on behalf of the Belgian Ministry of Defence, thanks to my knowledge in WWII and other areas. Working in two WWII era fortresses still belonging to the Army.

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