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Old 04-18-2007   #6
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Zaman notes that this latest presser should be viewed in context with revelations that the military may have planned a coup against the AKP government in 2004, as well as the possibility that Erdogan may declare for President soon.

Ten years ago, the Turkish Armed Forces organized a series of press conferences to undermine --successfully as it turned out -- the religious-right and center-right coalition government of Necmettin Erbakan and Tansu Çiller. The military delivered a series of orchestrated criticisms of its own government -- then forced the Cabinet to sign what amounted to a loyalty pledge, a strategy that waggish pundits at the time labeled “the post-modern coup.” This time Gen. Büyükanıt seemed determined to deconstruct not his own government but its uneasy coalition with the government of George W. Bush.


In many ways the general’s speech seemed less a foray into the political arena than an attempt to re-polish the military’s image -- tarnished after another leaked news story that senior commanders had seriously considered staging a coup in 2004. There was no record or even a trace of such a plot in the military archives, Gen. Büyükanıt said. He knew, because he had looked.

And for the grand finale. What would the military do if Tayyip Erdoğan succeeded in having himself appointed president and thus military commander-in-chief? He didn’t actually pose the rhetorical question. He did say he knew the procedure for selecting a president was laid out formally in the Constitution but that it was certainly his hope that the new president would not simply pay lip service to the secular nature of the republic but respect its very core.
Eurasianet's analysis of the demo.

The organizer of the April 14 march was an NGO chaired by a retired military police chief rumored to have led two coup attempts against the government in 2004. That link encouraged many to stay away – one prominent intellectual even compared the protest to the march on Rome that brought Mussolini to power in 1922.

Many of the Ankara protesters had nothing to do with either the organizing NGO, or Turkey’s head opposition party, whose leader occasionally makes veiled calls for military intervention. Yet there was something evocative of the tumultuous 1920s about the rally. Ubiquitous images of Ataturk, who died in 1938, contributed to that, as did the participants’ defiant rhetoric. It’s clear that present-day partisans of Turkey’s secularist tradition see themselves as on the frontlines of a culture war over the future direction of the state.


"We are today’s mad Turks", schoolteacher Hasan Devecioglu said approvingly, as a speaker on the platform called for the "imperialist" International Monetary Fund, the US and the EU to "get your hands off Turkey."

He was referring to a fictionalized retelling of the Kemalist version of Turkey’s liberation struggle that has barely left best-seller lists since it was published in 2005. The success of Turgut Ozakman’s "Those Mad Turks" stems largely from the fact many Turks see parallels between the dying days of the Ottoman Empire and today.

After the First World War, while the Sultan and his Istanbul government collaborated with British occupation forces, Turkish nationalists prepared to fight from the depths of Anatolia. Today, increasingly anti-Western secularists think, the collaborators are the AKP and the invaders are Brussels and Washington.
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