Turkey confines ex-chiefs of naval operations over explanation on waterways settlement

 ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish experts on Monday confined 10 previous naval commanders after a gathering of in excess of 100 resigned top naval officials gave an explanation that administration authorities attached to Turkey's set of experiences of military overthrows. 

The 10 resigned naval commanders were confined as a component of an examination, dispatched by the central examiner in Ankara on Sunday, over doubts that they had reached "a concurrence to perpetrate a wrongdoing against the security of the state and the established request," Turkey's state-run Anadolu Office detailed. 

Four others were not kept due to their high level ages, yet they were approached to answer to specialists inside three days, Anadolu revealed.

Authorities stripped the suspects of their rights to government lodgings and bodyguards, Anadolu reported, even before the investigation is concluded.

A total of 103 retired admirals signed the statement declaring their commitment to an international treaty that regulates shipping through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, which link the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. The 14 suspects are believed to have organized the declaration.

The statement was issued amid a debate over whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who withdrew Turkey from a international convention to protect women last month, could also pull the country out of the 1936 Treaty of Montreux, which regulates the passage through the straits, and other international treaties.

Erdogan’s plan to build an alternative waterway to the north of Istanbul that would bypass the Bosporus also sparked a debate over the Montreux treaty.

“The fact that withdrawing from the Montreux Convention was opened to debate as part of talks on Canal Istanbul and the authority to exit from international treaties was met with concern,” the retired admirals said in a declaration released late Saturday.

The statement triggered strong condemnation by ruling party and government officials who drew a parallel with statements that accompanied past military takeovers in Turkey.

More officials spoke out against the admirals on Monday.

Fahrettin Altun, the presidential communications director, described the statement as finger-waving “at the nation’s will and its elected representatives, as a leftover habit of the old guardianship regime.”

We cannot and do not view (the statement) as innocent,” he said.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, a former chief of military staff, said the declaration served no purpose other than to “harm Turkey’s democracy, break the Turkish Armed Forces’ personnel’s morale, and please our enemies.”

Turkey experienced coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980, and a 1997 military intervention caused the resignation of an Islamist-led coalition government. In 2016, a failed coup led to more than 250 deaths.