ISTANBUL (AP) A group of retired Turkish admirals were criticized on Sunday for issuing a statement that government officials were linked to Turkey’s history of military coups.
The 103 former naval officers criticized a suggestion that Turkey could withdraw from the international treaty that regulates navigation through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, which connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay compared the signatories’ statements to cowards hissing in a cemetery. Numan Kurtulus, the deputy leader of the ruling party in Turkey, tweeted that they were lovers of old Turkey who consider themselves above the will of the nation.
The possibility of leaving the Montreux Convention of 1936 was raised earlier in the week during discussions on the construction of a navigation canal north of Istanbul that would bypass the Bosphorus.
The fact that the withdrawal from the Montreux Convention was open to debate in the context of the Istanbul Canal negotiations and the authority to exit international treaties was greeted with concern, the retired admirals said in a statement. statement released Saturday evening.
We believe that all kinds of remarks and acts that would lead to discussions on the Montreux Convention, which holds an important place in Turkey’s survival, should be avoided, the group said.
The ruling party and government officials drew a parallel with statements that accompanied past military takeovers in Turkey. Ankara’s chief prosecutor has opened an investigation into the admirals’ statement.
Turkey experienced coups d’état in 1960, 1971 and 1980, and a 1997 military intervention prompted the resignation of an Islamist-led coalition government. In 2016, a failed coup claimed more than 250 lives.
The statement by a group of retired servicemen referring to the coup period only made them sound ridiculous and pathetic, Erdogans spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted.
Let them know that our beloved nation and its representatives will never allow this mentality and enthusiasm for (military) guardianship, Kalin said.
In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the armed forces cannot be used as a vehicle for greed, ambition and personal goals for those who have no duty or responsibility.
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