The chiefs of Greece’s Army, Navy and Air Force plus 12 other commissioned officers were let go on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reports. They are being replaced by other senior officers.
The Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou approved the changes at a meeting of the Foreign and Defense Council in Athens, Bloomberg News reports.
A Defense Ministry source told Agence France-Presse that the reshuffle was previously scheduled and not linked to political developments.
Kostas Gemenis, an assistant professor of politics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, told CNN that the government may have acted to head off any rumors that the military might seize power from Papandreou’s weak government.
After Papandreou announced that he would put the European Union debt rescue deal to a referendum, a member of his party defected, leaving the government with just 152 deputies in the 300-seat parliament, AFP reports.
More from GlobalPost: Greece: Cabinet backs bailout referendum, PM prepares to face Europe's anger
Military leaders took over the Greek government in 1967 and controlled the country until 1974, according to CNN.
Opposition politicians slammed the move.
“Under no circumstances will these changes be accepted, at a time when the government is collapsing,” the conservative New Democracy party said in a statement, the Telegraph reports. “It has no moral or real authority any more, and such surprise moves can only worsen the crisis currently sweeping the country.”
"This heightens the climate of uncertainty and concern among public opinion," the Democratic Left party told AFP.