Turkey appoints civilian to head security council
ANKARA: Turkey for the first time has appointed a civilian to head the country’s influential national security council in line with reforms to boost its drive to join the European Union.
The appointment of Turkey’s current ambassador to Greece, Yigit Alpogan, to the post of council’s secretary general was announced officially on Tuesday.
The council was previously headed by a top general and was long the forum through which the military influenced key decisions on important domestic and foreign policy issues such as the fight against Kurdish separatism and Islamic extremism, as well as Iraq and Cyprus.
Recent reforms have meant that the council, which includes top generals and government ministers, now has only an advisery role to the government. Last year, Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government passed a package of reforms through parliament limiting the powers of the council and allowing for the appointment of a civilian as council’s secretary general.
The reforms were particularly difficult for Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party to push through because both are viewed by suspicion by the army, the self-appointed guardians of the secular system, for their ties to a now-defunct Islamist party. afp