Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced on Friday that Vecdi Gonul will be Turkey’s new defence minister after incumbent Ismet Yilmaz was elected as the new speaker of parliament.
Speaking to reporters, Davutoglu said “I have presented Mr. Vecdi Gonul’s name to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, taking the ongoing process into consideration. We hope he will join us soon.”
Stressing that the “Ministry of Defence cannot be run by a temporary assignment or by an acting minister” Davutoglu continued “at a critical time, we prefer somebody whose knowledge and experience we trust and who worked with Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the past.”
Gonul, who has good relations with the military, previously served as defence minister between 2002 and 2011.
Gonul’s re-appointment to the post is surprising as he was not nominated in Turkey’s June 2015 general election as a deputy for the 25th parliament because the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) enforces an internal three-term limit for its deputies.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government has ordered the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) take “necessary measures” to tighten security along the Syrian border after the National Security Council (MGK) discussed a possible cross-border operation into northern Syria.
During a meeting on Monday Turkish officials announced the issuing of “red lines” against the the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), ISIS, and the Syrian regime with respect to their movements within Syria.
Prime Minister Davutoglu on Thursday said that his government will not drag Turkey into uncharted territory, referring to Syria, unless the country’s national security is directly threatened.
‘‘We have ordered necessary precautions to be taken for a situation that may arise beyond our borders, but this should definitely not be regarded as Turkey entering Syria,’’ said Davutoglu.