Turkish Armed Forces to recruit civilian political advisers, press secretaries
Within the scope of a new reform in press and public relations within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the General Staff will soon recruit civilian political advisers and press secretaries, the chief of General Staff has said.
The Vatan daily reported on Thursday that the chief of General Staff, Gen. Necdet Özel, stated that the TSK will no longer conduct public relations through members of the armed forces but will instead employ professional civilian personnel.
Commenting on recruiting political advisers, Özel said: “We are working to keep the army away from all sorts of political movements. We will recruit political advisers. Our prime minister has given us permission to recruit civilian personnel for these positions. “
Özel recently responded to criticism by some circles over his silence in the face of recent court rulings against senior military officers on coup plotting charges, saying as a public official whose duties are set out by law, he prefers speaking less.
“The chief of General Staff is the commander of the TSK and a public official who has responsibility to the state and whose duties and authorities are set out by law. I think a public official should analyze correctly where, what and when to speak. That's why I am trying to not to speak much or be on the agenda much,” Özel said, in stark contrast with Turkey's former chiefs of General Staff, who habitually expressed their opinions on political matters, even those not related to the military or its officers.
He was responding to questions raised by critics of recent trials involving senior military officers, who have criticized him for remaining silent in the face of convictions of dozens of defendants in these trials.
Özel, a former gendarmerie general commander, was appointed as Land Forces commander and acting chief of General Staff after Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner and the commanders of the air, navy and land forces all resigned from their positions amid controversy over the appointment of generals in the 2011 summer meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), which convenes every August to discuss promotions and dismissals within the armed forces.
Özel was the only commander who did not request retirement in 2011.(Todayszaman)