Turkish Polıtıcs Dersi 7. Ünite Özet

09.08.2022
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Civil-Military Relations İn Turkey

Açıköğretim ders notları öğrenciler tarafından ders çalışma esnasında hazırlanmakta olup diğer ders çalışacak öğrenciler için paylaşılmaktadır. Sizlerde hazırladığınız ders notlarını paylaşmak istiyorsanız bizlere iletebilirsiniz.

Açıköğretim derslerinden Turkish Polıtıcs Dersi 7. Ünite Özet için hazırlanan  ders çalışma dokümanına (ders özeti / sorularla öğrenelim) aşağıdan erişebilirsiniz. AÖF Ders Notları ile sınavlara çok daha etkili bir şekilde çalışabilirsiniz. Sınavlarınızda başarılar dileriz.

Civil-Military Relations İn Turkey

Introduction

Army is one of the largest bureaucratic institutions within a state. However, a sharp hierarchical structure, strong bond between its members and the privilege of possessing weapons differentiate army from other bureaucratic institutions. For this reason, the relationship between military and politics has become a controversial issue in many parts of the world. Especially in countries where democracy is not sufficiently developed, it is quite possible to encounter with examples of military intervention. In democracies, the decision making power should be held by politicians who are elected by citizens. During the decision making processes, the military officers can consult with politicians like other bureaucrats, nevertheless, the military may try to be the main decision making actor in the countries where democracy has not been consolidated.

Military Bureucracy In The Process of Modernization

In the classical period, the Ottoman Empire’s greatest political achievements depended on its military power. The Ottoman military took on a vital role of expanding the territories of the state. During the ascension period, the Ottomans formed different units to fight on their behalf, thus the state could prevent the military force to be concentrated in a single centre.

With the beginning of “modernity”, many economic, scientific and political improvements were realized in the Western countries which strengthened them considerably in many aspects. This also affected their military power and war technologies they used in the battle field. Nevertheless, this situation reflected negatively on the Ottoman Empire’s military, politics and economy because it had been in a continuous competition with the Western world.

The first coup attempt in the Ottoman period was the Kuleli Incident, which happened in 1859. Some soldiers and civilians planned a coup in cooperation in order to dethrone Sultan Abdulmecid and replace him with Abdulaziz. However, the troops which were affiliated to the palace received the news of this coup attempt before it happened. Afterwards, those who attempted the coup were arrested and tried in Kuleli Quarters. The trial was referred to as Kuleli Incident because the trials took place in Kuleli Quarters. It was alleged that those who were involved in this attempt were uncomfortable with the reforms which aimed at westernization. This was one of the first examples of military intervention attempts in modern Turkish political history, but the Second Constitutional Period, which began in 1908, witnessed the most important developments in terms of the civilmilitary relations.

The Committee of Union and Progress was founded in 1889, secretly by the military medical students. The common motivation that united the founders of the association was the opposition to the administration of Sultan Abdulhamid II. Over time, the number of members of the Committee gradually increased even though it was a committee that organized in secrecy. Military school students as well as civilians have participated in this political movement. The Committee of Union and Progress tended to some activities against the Sultan in time. In 1908, some members of the Union and Progress in Salonika planned an operation to overthrow the sultan.

With the constitutional amendments made in 1909, the powers of the sultan were reduced. In this period, the Committee of Union and Progress dominated the parliament and the government which were the main political units that had a say in the country’s administration. The defeat of the Balkan Wars in 1912 created a great tragedy. Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro allied and declared war against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were defeated in the battle and lost most of their lands in Balkans. After this defeat, a group of military officers under the leadership of Enver Bey raided the government office, namely Sublime Porte (Bab-i Âli). The Incident is also called as the “Raid on the Sublime Porte (Bab-ı Ali)”.

The period of the Committee of Union and Progress government was one of the most prominent examples of the politicization of the army. A group established in the army increased its strength over time and took the country’s administration completely. This situation harmed not only the country’s administration but also the army itself.

Years of War of Independence

With the Armistice of Mudros signed on October 30, 1918, the Ottoman Empire openly admitted its defeat in the war. Due to the Armistice conditions, especially in İstanbul, Turkey began to be occupied by the entente states. In this process, the debates have arisen over how to react to these occupations. In different parts of Anatolia, different groups began to organize to resist the occupying states. Resistance movements were mostly organized by the former Committee of Union and Progress members. In many places, the Association of Defence of National Rights was established.

The most critical development in this process was that Mustafa Kemal Pasha went to Samsun on 19 May 1919. The most important function of the parliament which gathered on January 12, 1920 was to accept the “Misak-ı Milli” (National Pact). Upon this decision, İstanbul was officially occupied by the entente states. The New Assembly consisted of newly elected members and the members of the dissolved parliament in İstanbul. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was elected as the chairman of the new parliament, the Grand National Assembly.

One-Party Period

The “First Assembly” was highly heterogeneous in ideological terms. Atatürk was aware that this Assembly would not support him for the implementation of his reform projects. Therefore, Mustafa Kemal thought that it was essential to hold a new election. The victory of the War of Independence made Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s leadership unquestionable.

After the death of Atatürk, the army’s influence was obviously seen in the debates on who would be elected instead. İsmet İnönü, who had been a prime minister for a long time during Atatürk’s presidency, was removed from this position in 1937. The most important development during the presidency of İnönü was the Second World War. Turkey’s choice of politics was to stay neutral during the war. In different phases of the war, Turkey tried to pursue a balance policy between different alliance blocks (Deringil, 2003). As a result of these efforts, Turkey, did not participate in the Second World War. However, the country’s economy dramatically deteriorated during this period.

Democrat Party And 27 May 1960 Mılıtary Coup D’état

After the Second World War, the world was divided into two political poles. One of the poles consisted of liberalcapitalist countries led by the United States while the other block composed of communist countries led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

As soon as the DP government came to power, some radical changes took place. For example, the new government replaced many generals and military officers. Most of these soldiers were known for their commitment to the former president İsmet İnönü and the CHP. There were the Chief of General Staff and other senior commanders among them. Despite these developments, it can be said that the DP tried to establish positive relations with the military during its ten-year rule to some extent in order not to face the military.

The junta took control of the city centres, especially the capital city Ankara, in the morning of May 27th. The coup d’état was declared on radio and the DP’s deputies were taken into custody. The coup plotters also reported their allegiance to NATO. In the coup declaration, it was emphasized that the target of the coup was the ruling party, and the junta was impartial to all other groups. After the coup, only the DP was closed and the other parties continued their activities. But the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was closed.

After the coup, most of the high ranking military officers who had served in the DP government were retired. There were 235 generals and admirals among almost 5,000 military officers who were retired. Only twenty generals remained in the army (Özdağ, 1997, p. 307).

The May 27 coup was one of the major political incidents that damaged Turkish democracy. After the transition to the multiparty politics, the democratic culture in the country began to develop. Certainly, there were political disputes in this process, or perhaps some mistakes were made by the ruling party.

12 March 1971 Military Memorandum

After the 1960 coup d’etat, the political dissidences in the army increased. More precisely, the army officers were trying to influence political processes. In this period, it is known that some leftist political groups were in touch with the soldiers. Some of the soldiers under the influence of these groups constituted “junta” structures within the army. Their aim was to seize control of the country’s government again.

In the 1970s, Turkey’s only problem was not the economic crisis. Violent incidents also increased rapidly throughout the country. There were frequent street battles among different political groups. Political disputes caused numerous casualties. Because the majority of the established governments were quite short-lived, Turkey was suffering from a political instability.

important center of power in Turkey. After March 12, the army did not allow politics to move in its own principles. This has become an obstacle for the development of democratic culture within the country. In addition, the military interventions have strengthened the idea that the army could take control of the country in times when politicians applied “wrong” policies, or were “unable” to govern the country. The soldiers claimed that politicians did not consider the interests of the country and followed populist politics. As a matter of fact, the crises that took place in the 1970s led to the emergence of a new military coup.

12 September 1980 Military Coup And After

In 1980, the political and economic crisis had reached the highest level in Turkey. In September 12, 1980, news that the commanders of the army were ready for a new military coup was circulating. Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel was trying to get a message on this issue. It is still unknown how much the politicians, especially Demirel, were aware of the coup attempt.

According to the military, Turkey was in a chaos and the democratic system was not going to solve the problems, so there was a need for the guardianship of the military. In this respect, the Article 35 of the “Law on the Internal Service of the Turkish Armed Forces” was presented as the legal basis for the September 12 coup d’etat (Demirel, 2003, p. 268).

Through the prime ministry of Turgut Özal, an economic and political liberalization process was experienced in Turkey. In the same period, Özal also made efforts to reduce the influence of the military on politics. He believed that political freedoms should be expanded in the country. In this process, there were disagreements between the army and the political power over some subjects such as “religion-state relations” and secularism. Because of this, Prime Minister Özal was blamed for being “reactionary”.

Özal did not want the army to interfere with politics. Indeed, in democratic countries, decision-making authority must be entirely in the hands of elected politicians. The soldiers would only help them with their technical knowledge. However, they were not supposed to have the authority to make decisions in political matters. Özal’s attitude in the process was actually crucial for the normalization of politics and also important for the establishment of a truly functioning democracy.

28 February Process

In the 1990s, Turkey was governed by coalitions. At the same time, a large number of different governments were established. In the period between 1990 and 2000, 11 different coalition governments served. This situation obviously created the problem of political instability. Moreover, to fight against the problem of terrorism, which especially affected Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia, several military measures were taken. Hence, in the 1990s, the influence of the armed forces in political matters increased gradually. In this process, there was no clear disagreement between the army and the government.

On January 16, 1998, the Constitutional Court decided to close the RP. The Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi-FP) was established by the former RP politicians. However, the RP was also closed by the Constitutional Court. The “National View” movement was divided into two after this process. Some of the RP politicians who were known as the traditionalists continued in the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi-SP) while the others who were called as the reformists established the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

caused political instability in Turkey. The country was exposed to two major economic crises in 1999 and 2001. The disagreement between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the government intensified the economic crisis. The government decided to go for an early election, and the new election was held on November 3, 2002.

After 2002: Struggle With Tutelage

November 3, 2002 Parliamentary Elections started a new era in Turkish political life. The AK Party being established about a year before the elections reached the majority of the seats which enabled it to form the government alone. The CHP was another party having seats in the parliament. Other political parties were out of the parliament because they failed to meet the 10% threshold. After a very long time in Turkey, there was a bipartisan parliamentary structure.

One of the first actions of the AK Party government was to remove the “state of emergency” which has been applied in some provinces of Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia since 1987 because of terrorism. This practice was providing the military bureaucrats more authority than they were supposed to hold. Since its establishment, the General Secretary of the National Security Council has been chosen among the generals.

One of the most significant political developments in this process was the closure trial of the AK Party in March 2008. The Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation accused the ruling party of being a focal point of anti-secular activities, and so asked the Constitutional Court to close down the party. The Constitutional Court decided not to close the AK Party, but to deprive the party of the financial assistance of the Treasury with an amount of half of the last assistance. The ruling party was rescued by only one member from the closure. This showed that the weight of the “military tutelage” system had still continued.

In 2013, Article 35 of the Turkish Armed Forces Internal Service Law was amended because it was exploited by the coup plotters in the past as a mean to legally justify the military interventions and to legitimize them. After the amendment of the article, the task of the Armed Forces was described with reference to external security. Thus, a significant improvement was achieved in terms of the removal of the “military tutelage”.

15 July 2016 Coup Attempt

Turkey made significant progress in terms of democratization and its consolidation during the 2000s. Reforms in civil-military relations were one of the most important components of the democratization process. Therefore, the predominant idea was that Turkey would not witness a new coup d’etat.

On July 16, 2016, in the early hours of the morning, the coup attempt failed, and the members of the junta, who tried to continue the revolt in some military units, were dissolved in the evening of July 16th. Upon the call of President Erdoğan, millions of people on the streets tried to protect the country’s democracy at the expense of their lives. Also, the vast majority of the commanders in the armed forces did not participate in the coup attempt and fought against it.

The failed coup in July 15 was attempted by a junta whose members were militants of the terrorist organization FETÖ. This organization has penetrated into the army as a result of systematic efforts in a long period of time. Over the years, they have made it possible for their militants to come to the top positions in the army. It is important to emphasize that the coup attempt, in a sense, has enabled the strengthening of democracy in Turkey, and reinforced the confidence of the society.

Introduction

Army is one of the largest bureaucratic institutions within a state. However, a sharp hierarchical structure, strong bond between its members and the privilege of possessing weapons differentiate army from other bureaucratic institutions. For this reason, the relationship between military and politics has become a controversial issue in many parts of the world. Especially in countries where democracy is not sufficiently developed, it is quite possible to encounter with examples of military intervention. In democracies, the decision making power should be held by politicians who are elected by citizens. During the decision making processes, the military officers can consult with politicians like other bureaucrats, nevertheless, the military may try to be the main decision making actor in the countries where democracy has not been consolidated.

Military Bureucracy In The Process of Modernization

In the classical period, the Ottoman Empire’s greatest political achievements depended on its military power. The Ottoman military took on a vital role of expanding the territories of the state. During the ascension period, the Ottomans formed different units to fight on their behalf, thus the state could prevent the military force to be concentrated in a single centre.

With the beginning of “modernity”, many economic, scientific and political improvements were realized in the Western countries which strengthened them considerably in many aspects. This also affected their military power and war technologies they used in the battle field. Nevertheless, this situation reflected negatively on the Ottoman Empire’s military, politics and economy because it had been in a continuous competition with the Western world.

The first coup attempt in the Ottoman period was the Kuleli Incident, which happened in 1859. Some soldiers and civilians planned a coup in cooperation in order to dethrone Sultan Abdulmecid and replace him with Abdulaziz. However, the troops which were affiliated to the palace received the news of this coup attempt before it happened. Afterwards, those who attempted the coup were arrested and tried in Kuleli Quarters. The trial was referred to as Kuleli Incident because the trials took place in Kuleli Quarters. It was alleged that those who were involved in this attempt were uncomfortable with the reforms which aimed at westernization. This was one of the first examples of military intervention attempts in modern Turkish political history, but the Second Constitutional Period, which began in 1908, witnessed the most important developments in terms of the civilmilitary relations.

The Committee of Union and Progress was founded in 1889, secretly by the military medical students. The common motivation that united the founders of the association was the opposition to the administration of Sultan Abdulhamid II. Over time, the number of members of the Committee gradually increased even though it was a committee that organized in secrecy. Military school students as well as civilians have participated in this political movement. The Committee of Union and Progress tended to some activities against the Sultan in time. In 1908, some members of the Union and Progress in Salonika planned an operation to overthrow the sultan.

With the constitutional amendments made in 1909, the powers of the sultan were reduced. In this period, the Committee of Union and Progress dominated the parliament and the government which were the main political units that had a say in the country’s administration. The defeat of the Balkan Wars in 1912 created a great tragedy. Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro allied and declared war against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were defeated in the battle and lost most of their lands in Balkans. After this defeat, a group of military officers under the leadership of Enver Bey raided the government office, namely Sublime Porte (Bab-i Âli). The Incident is also called as the “Raid on the Sublime Porte (Bab-ı Ali)”.

The period of the Committee of Union and Progress government was one of the most prominent examples of the politicization of the army. A group established in the army increased its strength over time and took the country’s administration completely. This situation harmed not only the country’s administration but also the army itself.

Years of War of Independence

With the Armistice of Mudros signed on October 30, 1918, the Ottoman Empire openly admitted its defeat in the war. Due to the Armistice conditions, especially in İstanbul, Turkey began to be occupied by the entente states. In this process, the debates have arisen over how to react to these occupations. In different parts of Anatolia, different groups began to organize to resist the occupying states. Resistance movements were mostly organized by the former Committee of Union and Progress members. In many places, the Association of Defence of National Rights was established.

The most critical development in this process was that Mustafa Kemal Pasha went to Samsun on 19 May 1919. The most important function of the parliament which gathered on January 12, 1920 was to accept the “Misak-ı Milli” (National Pact). Upon this decision, İstanbul was officially occupied by the entente states. The New Assembly consisted of newly elected members and the members of the dissolved parliament in İstanbul. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was elected as the chairman of the new parliament, the Grand National Assembly.

One-Party Period

The “First Assembly” was highly heterogeneous in ideological terms. Atatürk was aware that this Assembly would not support him for the implementation of his reform projects. Therefore, Mustafa Kemal thought that it was essential to hold a new election. The victory of the War of Independence made Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s leadership unquestionable.

After the death of Atatürk, the army’s influence was obviously seen in the debates on who would be elected instead. İsmet İnönü, who had been a prime minister for a long time during Atatürk’s presidency, was removed from this position in 1937. The most important development during the presidency of İnönü was the Second World War. Turkey’s choice of politics was to stay neutral during the war. In different phases of the war, Turkey tried to pursue a balance policy between different alliance blocks (Deringil, 2003). As a result of these efforts, Turkey, did not participate in the Second World War. However, the country’s economy dramatically deteriorated during this period.

Democrat Party And 27 May 1960 Mılıtary Coup D’état

After the Second World War, the world was divided into two political poles. One of the poles consisted of liberalcapitalist countries led by the United States while the other block composed of communist countries led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

As soon as the DP government came to power, some radical changes took place. For example, the new government replaced many generals and military officers. Most of these soldiers were known for their commitment to the former president İsmet İnönü and the CHP. There were the Chief of General Staff and other senior commanders among them. Despite these developments, it can be said that the DP tried to establish positive relations with the military during its ten-year rule to some extent in order not to face the military.

The junta took control of the city centres, especially the capital city Ankara, in the morning of May 27th. The coup d’état was declared on radio and the DP’s deputies were taken into custody. The coup plotters also reported their allegiance to NATO. In the coup declaration, it was emphasized that the target of the coup was the ruling party, and the junta was impartial to all other groups. After the coup, only the DP was closed and the other parties continued their activities. But the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was closed.

After the coup, most of the high ranking military officers who had served in the DP government were retired. There were 235 generals and admirals among almost 5,000 military officers who were retired. Only twenty generals remained in the army (Özdağ, 1997, p. 307).

The May 27 coup was one of the major political incidents that damaged Turkish democracy. After the transition to the multiparty politics, the democratic culture in the country began to develop. Certainly, there were political disputes in this process, or perhaps some mistakes were made by the ruling party.

12 March 1971 Military Memorandum

After the 1960 coup d’etat, the political dissidences in the army increased. More precisely, the army officers were trying to influence political processes. In this period, it is known that some leftist political groups were in touch with the soldiers. Some of the soldiers under the influence of these groups constituted “junta” structures within the army. Their aim was to seize control of the country’s government again.

In the 1970s, Turkey’s only problem was not the economic crisis. Violent incidents also increased rapidly throughout the country. There were frequent street battles among different political groups. Political disputes caused numerous casualties. Because the majority of the established governments were quite short-lived, Turkey was suffering from a political instability.

important center of power in Turkey. After March 12, the army did not allow politics to move in its own principles. This has become an obstacle for the development of democratic culture within the country. In addition, the military interventions have strengthened the idea that the army could take control of the country in times when politicians applied “wrong” policies, or were “unable” to govern the country. The soldiers claimed that politicians did not consider the interests of the country and followed populist politics. As a matter of fact, the crises that took place in the 1970s led to the emergence of a new military coup.

12 September 1980 Military Coup And After

In 1980, the political and economic crisis had reached the highest level in Turkey. In September 12, 1980, news that the commanders of the army were ready for a new military coup was circulating. Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel was trying to get a message on this issue. It is still unknown how much the politicians, especially Demirel, were aware of the coup attempt.

According to the military, Turkey was in a chaos and the democratic system was not going to solve the problems, so there was a need for the guardianship of the military. In this respect, the Article 35 of the “Law on the Internal Service of the Turkish Armed Forces” was presented as the legal basis for the September 12 coup d’etat (Demirel, 2003, p. 268).

Through the prime ministry of Turgut Özal, an economic and political liberalization process was experienced in Turkey. In the same period, Özal also made efforts to reduce the influence of the military on politics. He believed that political freedoms should be expanded in the country. In this process, there were disagreements between the army and the political power over some subjects such as “religion-state relations” and secularism. Because of this, Prime Minister Özal was blamed for being “reactionary”.

Özal did not want the army to interfere with politics. Indeed, in democratic countries, decision-making authority must be entirely in the hands of elected politicians. The soldiers would only help them with their technical knowledge. However, they were not supposed to have the authority to make decisions in political matters. Özal’s attitude in the process was actually crucial for the normalization of politics and also important for the establishment of a truly functioning democracy.

28 February Process

In the 1990s, Turkey was governed by coalitions. At the same time, a large number of different governments were established. In the period between 1990 and 2000, 11 different coalition governments served. This situation obviously created the problem of political instability. Moreover, to fight against the problem of terrorism, which especially affected Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia, several military measures were taken. Hence, in the 1990s, the influence of the armed forces in political matters increased gradually. In this process, there was no clear disagreement between the army and the government.

On January 16, 1998, the Constitutional Court decided to close the RP. The Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi-FP) was established by the former RP politicians. However, the RP was also closed by the Constitutional Court. The “National View” movement was divided into two after this process. Some of the RP politicians who were known as the traditionalists continued in the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi-SP) while the others who were called as the reformists established the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

caused political instability in Turkey. The country was exposed to two major economic crises in 1999 and 2001. The disagreement between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the government intensified the economic crisis. The government decided to go for an early election, and the new election was held on November 3, 2002.

After 2002: Struggle With Tutelage

November 3, 2002 Parliamentary Elections started a new era in Turkish political life. The AK Party being established about a year before the elections reached the majority of the seats which enabled it to form the government alone. The CHP was another party having seats in the parliament. Other political parties were out of the parliament because they failed to meet the 10% threshold. After a very long time in Turkey, there was a bipartisan parliamentary structure.

One of the first actions of the AK Party government was to remove the “state of emergency” which has been applied in some provinces of Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia since 1987 because of terrorism. This practice was providing the military bureaucrats more authority than they were supposed to hold. Since its establishment, the General Secretary of the National Security Council has been chosen among the generals.

One of the most significant political developments in this process was the closure trial of the AK Party in March 2008. The Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation accused the ruling party of being a focal point of anti-secular activities, and so asked the Constitutional Court to close down the party. The Constitutional Court decided not to close the AK Party, but to deprive the party of the financial assistance of the Treasury with an amount of half of the last assistance. The ruling party was rescued by only one member from the closure. This showed that the weight of the “military tutelage” system had still continued.

In 2013, Article 35 of the Turkish Armed Forces Internal Service Law was amended because it was exploited by the coup plotters in the past as a mean to legally justify the military interventions and to legitimize them. After the amendment of the article, the task of the Armed Forces was described with reference to external security. Thus, a significant improvement was achieved in terms of the removal of the “military tutelage”.

15 July 2016 Coup Attempt

Turkey made significant progress in terms of democratization and its consolidation during the 2000s. Reforms in civil-military relations were one of the most important components of the democratization process. Therefore, the predominant idea was that Turkey would not witness a new coup d’etat.

On July 16, 2016, in the early hours of the morning, the coup attempt failed, and the members of the junta, who tried to continue the revolt in some military units, were dissolved in the evening of July 16th. Upon the call of President Erdoğan, millions of people on the streets tried to protect the country’s democracy at the expense of their lives. Also, the vast majority of the commanders in the armed forces did not participate in the coup attempt and fought against it.

The failed coup in July 15 was attempted by a junta whose members were militants of the terrorist organization FETÖ. This organization has penetrated into the army as a result of systematic efforts in a long period of time. Over the years, they have made it possible for their militants to come to the top positions in the army. It is important to emphasize that the coup attempt, in a sense, has enabled the strengthening of democracy in Turkey, and reinforced the confidence of the society.

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