ANKARA, TURKEY, DEC. 3 -- Turkey's chief of general staff resigned today amid reports that he is unhappy about President Turgut Ozal's handling of the Persian Gulf crisis.
Ozal has won praise abroad but drawn criticism at home for his swift adoption of U.N. sanctions against Iraq for its Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait and his tough talk against Baghdad.
In his resignation letter, Chief of General Staff Necip Torumtay said, "I am resigning of my own free will because I see it as impossible to continue my service under the principles and the perception of the state I believe in."
Torumtay's departure followed the resignations in October of Defense Minister Sefa Giray and Foreign Minister Ali Bozer, who were said to have disagreed with Ozal over his all but single-handed management of Turkey's Persian Gulf policies.
"Torumtay's resignation is a very, very important signal. It reflects the uneasiness in the Turkish army since the start of the gulf crisis," a senior army officer said.
"Torumtay and Mr. Ozal were at odds on some specific issues concerning the gulf crisis," he added, without elaboration.
After the Iraqi invasion, Ankara cut Iraqi oil export pipelines across Turkey, broke off trade and sent an extra 65,000 troops to its southeastern border with Iraq to augment 35,000 soldiers already there.
The army went on alert and there has been widespread speculation that Turkey would sanction the use of joint U.S.-Turkish military bases in the event of war.
Western diplomats and Turkish officials say the military has little enthusiasm for getting involved in any gulf fighting and newspaper polls show that two-thirds of Turks oppose a war.