ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's military announced the firing of 12 officers Thursday, and Turkish news media said most were dismissed under suspicion of sympathizing with Islamic groups.
The military, which has staged three coups since 1960 and is a powerful defender of Turkey's secular system, has sacked hundreds of officers since 1996 for suspected ties to Islamic activists or Kurdish groups.
A statement released by the military said only that 12 officers it did not identify were dismissed for "undisciplined" behavior. But private NTV television and other news reports said most had suspected links to Islamic groups.
The military also announced the naming of Gen. Yasar Buyukanit to head Turkey's land forces and Gen. Fevzi Turkeri to head the paramilitary police, replacing generals who are retiring this summer.
Buyukanit's appointment puts him in line to become the next chief of staff, when Gen. Hilmi Ozkok retires in 2006.