The measures in the field of defense are aimed at strengthening the Ministry of National Defense (MSB) and the minister. The laws mentioned below introducing changes to the system of defense feature clauses that contribute to such a strengthening. Naturally, in this respect, various amendments were made to the Law no. 1325 on Structure and Organization of the Ministry of National Defense. Chief among these are the following: The Army, Navy and Air Force commanders were subordinated to the Minister of National Defense, and the President and Prime Minister were granted the power to give direct orders to these force commanders. The Ministry of National Defense’s organizational structure was revised in line with these new powers, its central organization was expanded with the addition of a provincial organization in the countryside, and its organizational structure was differentiated from those of the General Staff and Armed Forces. The duties and powers of the Minister of National Defense came to include the education in military schools, recruitment of personnel, military industry services, inspection and investigation. In an another important amendment, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was authorized to conduct security investigations on the staff of the Ministry of Defense and in related institutions, as well as of military personnel active in or outside troops.
Army, Navy and Air Force Commands have been subordinated to the authority of the Minister of National Defense. A further addition specifies that “The President and Prime Minister, when they deem it necessary, can receive direct information from and give direct orders to the Force Commanders and their subordinates. The orders given are carried out without seeking the approval of any other authority” (Executive Decree 669 Article 36).
As for the organizational structure, previous stipulations such as “the Ministry regulates it in coordination with the General Staff” and “they are nominated from among the Turkish Armed Forces institutions and personnel” were removed. The new wording reads, “Staff positions for the Turkish Armed Forces are determined by the Minister of National Defense and appointments and assignments to these positions are made by the Minister of National Defense”. Institutions that report to the Ministry are listed, the number of undersecretary deputies has been set at 5, and the creation of a provincial organization has been given a start with the new expression “central and provincial organization” . (Executive Decree 669, Article 35; Executive Decree 676 Article 58; Executive Decree 694 Article 38, Executive 696, Article 26). The positions in the Ministry’s central organization have been associated with specific ranks in the Turkish Armed Forces (Executive Decree 674 Article 47).
The following were placed under the power of the Minister of National Defense: “education in military schools (war schools and noncommissioned officer vocational colleges)”; conscription during times of peace or war as well as “employment of personnel”; running not only “military industry services” as before but rather “military industry services including military factories and shipyards” (Executive Decree 669 Article 37). The minister’s authorities came to include the execution of “inspection, analysis and investigation functions” (Executive Decree 676 Article 59). In connection to the latter, a Presidency of Inspection Board was established to “inspect, analyze and investigate all the activities, accounts and transactions of the subordinate Force Commands, the agencies and institutions associated and related with the Ministry’s organization, and any companies where these agencies and institutions or the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation hold an at least 50% stake jointly or separately, upon the order or approval of the Minister, on behalf of the Minister,” (Executive Decree 694 Article 39).
The Ministry will conduct the security investigations and archive research of personnel in all the associated and related institutions with the intermediation of the Undersecretariat of National Intelligence Service and General Directorate of Security (Executive Decree 690 Article 10). A further article was added to the law, specifying that the intelligence investigations regarding the staff serving in the Ministry’s central and provincial organizations and any associated and related institutions will be conducted by the Undersecretariat of National Intelligence Service. As such, the latter can now run any inspection on the personnel of the Ministry and of Turkish Armed Forces -both in or outside of troops-, in the scope of its intelligence generating activities or security investigations. The practical implementation of these articles will be determined by a regulation which shall be issued by the President (Executive Decree 694 Article 41).
It has been stated that the Ministry is authorized to issue all kinds of by-laws, regulations and communiqués in order to fulfill its duties and authorities and that it can delegate its authorities to subordinates at any level (Executive Decree 690 Article 11).
An additional article was introduced, concerning the education of military students in war schools, faculties and colleges; the personal rights of military students, expulsion of military students, procedures concerning those expelled, issues to be outlined in regulations, military students’ right to resign, pocket money, awards etc. as well as the articles removed from the Law on Turkish Armed Forces Personnel (Executive Decree 669 Article 41, Executive Decree 696 Article 27-28).
Various provisions were introduced in order to meet the Ministry of National Defense’s demand for new staff, resulting from the restructuring and expulsions. The transfer of Ministry personnel to other agencies, the appointments or transfers to inspector positions at the Ministry, and appointments to the positions of National Defense Expert and Armed Forces Expert were simplified (Executive Decree 676 Article 60-61, Executive Decree 694 Article 42). It was made possible to employ retired commissioned and noncommissioned officers at the Ministry and its departments for recruiting military students (Executive Decree 678 Article 18), and the remuneration was set for those employees from other public agencies delivering this same service (Executive Decree 681 Article 52). It became possible to employ at the Ministry not only the personnel of other public agencies but also judges and prosecutors (Executive Decree 669 Article 38). It was stated that, alongside the current personnel, new appointments may be made via executive decree to positions deemed necessary (Executive Decree 669 Article 42).
Military factories and shipyards can now engage in commercial relations with public agencies as well as natural and legal persons including foreigners, without compromising their main duties. (Executive Decree 678 Article 17, Executive Decree 696 Article 31). Military Factory and Shipyard Operations Corp. (ASFAT A.Ş.) has been established in order to run such operations (Executive Decree 696 Article 29). With additional and temporary articles added to the law, certain provisions were made as regards security investigations: It has been stipulated that those accepted to basic military training or military schools, whose security investigations later yield a negative result will not have to pay compensation (Executive Decree 696 Article 29). Furthermore, it was indicated that the appointments to the National Defense Specialist and Armed Forces Specialist positions as mentioned by the Executive Decree 671 will have to be preceded by a security investigation. Also, those students who have joined the National Defense University but whose security investigation results have come in as negative will also be returned to the schools that they were previously enrolled at (Executive Decree 696 Article 30).