Gen. Kosaner blasts media speculation about the gendarmerie
Gen. Isik Kosaner, the new commander of the Turkish Land Forces, yesterday handed over the helm of the Gendarmerie to Gen. Atilla Isik in a ceremony. Among the officials at the handover ceremony were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, and Council of State Chief Justice Mustafa Birden. Speaking at the ceremony, Kosaner denounced recent media speculation about the possible role of gendarmerie officers in the Ergenekon probe. "Placing responsibility for several incidents on the Gendarmerie as a whole, and painting it as guilty, as well as targeting the institution through fictional scenarios has deeply offended our members." He also complained that recent legal changes for European Union harmonization had limited the powers of the Gendarmerie and hurt its ability to fight crime. "Taking advantage of these changes, the separatist terrorist organization (the PKK) and its legal extensions have stepped up their activities and started to act more freely by abusing the freedoms under the legal changes," he said. Kosaner added that public safety should not come at the expense of human rights.