The chiefs of Turkey’s armed forces, army, navy and air force have all resigned en masse, according to the Anatolia news agency.

While the motivation for such an unusual and sudden wave of resignations is not yet known, the tension between the ruling government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the secular military has festered for years. The government has prosecuted hundreds of military officers on charges of seeking to overthrow the Ankara government.

The chief of general staff, the top military commander in Turkey, Gen. I??k Ko?aner, reportedly conferred with Erdogan on numerous occasions recently.

The Anatolia news service said Kosaner was quitting "as he saw it as necessary.” He was appointed to that post only one year ago.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Supreme Military Council, which makes decisions on promotions for officers, is scheduled to meet next week. Reportedly, Ankara was incensed that some senior officers who are imprisoned or facing trial for plotting to overthrow the government was slated for promotions.

The Turkish military is viewed as a bastion of secularism against any signs of religious ferment in the state government. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has long been accused of having a pro-Islamic agenda – something it has repeatedly denied.