Turkish admiral behind Libya accord, post-coup purge in navy resigns after reassignment

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Former Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı

A rear admiral, known as the architect of Turkey’s recent east Mediterranean diplomacy and a fierce executioner of the post-2016-coup purge in the Turkish navy, resigned on Monday, following a reassignment by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı was an executive officer in the navy before he was assigned to a position at the General Staff, a desk job.

He reportedly said that his resignation was not a reaction to President Erdoğan’s decision, but that he felt insulted anyway.

Saygı Öztürk, a veteran columnist from the Sözcü daily, claimed the retired rear admiral was targeted by an influential business group that had benefited from contracts with the navy until Yaycı’s interference.

Yaycı was known for his role at the Libya accord, which expanded Turkey’s influence in the east Mediterranean. But the accord has drawn criticism from Turkey’s Western allies and Egypt, eventually isolating Ankara.

Reports indicate that he also played a role in Turkey’s more aggressive posture towards the Greeks in the Aegean Sea.

Yaycı was behind the development of an algorithm for profiling individuals for ties to the Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

According to Yaycı, through the algorithm naval officers have scrutinized around 800,000 people, including former and active duty military members, their spouses and children, to ferret out some 4,500 Gülen-linked officers in Turkey’s Naval Forces.

Nearly 20,000 military members were expelled after the abortive military putsch.

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