Turkey continues to jail air force officers

Three F-16 fighter jets, attached to 113th squadron fleet, fly over to celebrate 96th anniversary of Sakarya battle victory in the war of independence.


The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 31, 2018 issued detention warrants for 60 officers including four colonels, two lieutenant colonels and five majors as part of a crackdown on pro-NATO officers in an escalating witch hunt against the military by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

As of August 2018, Turkey had jailed 1,468 air force officers and has continued to detain hundreds more since then, bringing the total number to almost 2,000 by the end of the year, according to an estimate by Nordic Monitor.

Of 4,215 military members fired from the Turkish Air Forces by executive decision, 32 were generals, 2,059 were lower-ranking officers and 1,993 were noncommissioned officers. Most were purged on accusations of terrorism and their association with civic group the Gülen movement without any effective administrative, military or judicial investigation.

Some officers were accused of involvement in a failed coup in 2016. Nordic Monitor has found many cases where top generals and officers who had nothing to do with the limited mobilization in the events of July 15, 2016 were purged and/or jailed on dubious charges. Some who were posted overseas were recalled to Turkey under reassignments schemes, only to be arrested on what appear to be fabricated charges.

Erdoğan has managed to purge 150 generals, 7,595 lower-ranking officers and 5,723 noncommissioned officers of various ranks from the Turkish military over the last two years.

In total, 15,153 well-trained personnel were dismissed from the military according to testimony in parliament by Hulusi Akar, the defense minister and former chief of general staff, on Nov. 1, 2018.


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