Turkey's Supreme Military Council (YAS) has quietly stymied a government move to blacklist its generals as a coup threat against Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime.
In a decision approved by President Abdullah Gul, the YAS promoted 47 colonels to the rank of general or admiral on Saturday.
The high command also officially retired 40 generals and admirals who were being held in custody on charges of coup plotting.
All had been scheduled for promotions a year ago, a move suspended by the Erdogan regime, and were among 55 top officers slated for retirement and discharge.
At the time, the chiefs of staff resigned en masse to protest the arrests, joining others who accused the ruling AKP (Justice and Development) party of political reasons for the move.
The government has likewise been detaining – and in some cases not even charging – journalists, attorneys and prominent academics. All are being held in connection with probes into “coup plots.”
It is the Turkish military that has traditionally secured the government's constitution, which is secular. Turkey's military has also staged three coups in the past 50 years. It also forced a fourth government, headed by Turkey's first Islamist prime minister, to quit in 1997.
Since the AKP swept to power in 2002, it has reined in the military's power by passing laws that meet European Union standards on democracy and appointing prosecutors and judges willing to try previously untouchable generals, Reuters reported.
Investigations into so-called “Ergenekon” and “Sledgehammer” plots against the Erdogan government over the past four years resulted the arrests of hundreds of Turkish army officers.