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  1. #1
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    Default Turkey: what is going on?

    Moderator's Note

    This thread has been renamed from 'WTF News Network : Turkish Senior Ranks' mass resignation/retirement' to 'Turkey: politicians and generals - what is going on?' In October 2015 the thread was renamed from Turkey: politicians and generals - what is going on? - to Turkey: what is going on? A small number of older threads and SWJ pieces were merged in.

    A thread 2008-2009 called 'Secularism and Foreign Policy in Turkey', which contains background to the latest issues has now been merged into this thread.

    In mid-2016 there was a separate thread on the attempted military coup, with 21,7k views and this has now (February 2017) been merged into this thread.(Ends).

    WINEP Policy Focus, Apr 07:

    Secularism and Foreign Policy in Turkey: New Elections, Troubling Trends
    Turkey is often said to offer a counter-example to every cliché regarding Muslim majority countries and the Middle East. For starters, the country has been westernizing since the days of the Ottoman Empire. Second, Turkey has been staunchly secular since the interwar-era reforms initiated by its founding president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Third, Turkey has been a multiparty democracy since 1950. And last but not least, Turkey has maintained a pro-Western political orientation since the end of the World War II...

    ...The United States should be concerned about the AKP domination of Turkish politics because the AKP’s erosion of the secular Turkish weltanschauung is weakening the country’s pro-Western foreign policy orientation. Is the Turkish democracy strong enough to face the AKP beyond 2007? Will Turkey’s secularism and Western orientation prove resilient under this party’s leadership? What are the AKP’s stakes in the 2007 elections, and who are likely challengers to the party? Last but not least, what are the implications of this fateful period for U.S. policy, and what should the United States do to maintain Turkey’s pro-Western foreign policy orientation?....
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-04-2017 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note after threads merged and again.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Good Report

    thanks mate

    Good report in most regards. Interesting in all.

    As WINEP paper I was not surprised that anti-Israel was equated to anti-Semitic and then tied to anti-American. While the 3 can be related they are not defined as such.

    Tom

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    Others of you may know better, but the conventional wisdom has always been that the Turkish military is the keeper of secularism. Whenever politics strayed too far from center, the military would stage a coup, impose a government and "do over". The last coup was around 1980, so there is a theory that events are overdue.

    Although only anecdotal, my recent contact with Turkish officers seems to indicate a drift in the pro-clerical direction (from earlier datapoints in the 70s and 80s). If the officer corps, the bastion of secularism, becomes more religiously oriented, what might follow? Any other insights?

    Likewise, as TIME mag was seeking its "Man of the Century" for the 20th century and asked for e-mail input, Turkish "voters" overwhelmed the tabulators with votes for Ataturk. Of course, TIME does not operate a democracy and Ataturk was not selected. Given the current tension between Islamic countries and organizations and "the west", maybe he should have been. A successful secular Muslim state. Hmmm.

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    The BBC posted this interesting counterpoint to the study about the Islamist shift in Turkey

    Turks argue over next president
    By Sarah Rainsford
    BBC News, Ankara

    Mr Erdogan has denied pushing a pro-Islam agenda
    The Turkish parliament has begun the process of electing a new president, in what is already proving a highly controversial contest.

    More than 300,000 people took to the streets of the capital at the weekend to pressure Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to stand.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6558967.stm

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    I doubt the Kurds will be sacrificed to bolster Turkey's historical pro-West policy orientation. I thought all along that when Turkey refused to let the 3rd ID embark from its soil into Iraq from the north during the invasion the problems were just starting. A precursor to a more Islamic military orientation I would guess. From other posts it almost appears as if Turkey and Iran are in bed togather over the Kurds.

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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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    Default Turkey's Parliamentary Elections

    taken from: adkronosinternational: 6/8/08:

    "TURKEY: CENTRE RIGHT MOTHERLAND PARTY QUITS ELECTIONS


    Istanbul, 8 June (AKI) -
    ......

    Also on Friday, Turkey's Electorate Council, the body which regulates the elections, vetoed the candidature of thee ethnic Kurdish candidates - Orhan Dogan, Selim Sadak and Hatip Dicle - accusing them of of extremism. The three, all former members of the defunct Kurdish-rights Democracy Party (DEP) - banned by the authorities for its perceived extremism - had planned to run as independents."

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Turkey's Parliamentary Elections

    23 July LA Times - Turkey's Ruling Party Wins Big in Parliamentary Elections by Laura King.

    Voters Sunday handed Turkey's Islamist-influenced ruling party a decisive victory in parliamentary elections, rewarding it for stewardship of the country's robust economy but raising the specter of bitter new quarrels over the feared erosion of Turkey's secular traditions.

    With 99% of the votes counted, the Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials AKP, garnered about 47% of the vote, according to unofficial results — a substantial increase over the 34% it received in elections five years ago when it came to power.

    The vote could have far-reaching consequences for Turkey's engagement with the West, including its drive to become the first Muslim-dominated country to join the European Union. Though secularist parties have been cool to that idea, the AKP has vowed to press ahead with the bid despite early rebuffs...
    19 July BBC - Two Faces of Modern Turkey.
    Last edited by SWJED; 07-23-2007 at 08:44 AM.

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    Default Turkey in Radical Revision of Islamic Texts

    While not exactly an Islamic Reformation the BBC is reporting that Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

    The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

    The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.

    As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia...

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    Default Turkey: politicians and generals - what is going on?

    Reading music

    Hours after the country’s entire military echelon, including the Chief of the General Staff, resigned from their posts in a reaction to civilian rulers, the government appointed Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Necdet Özel late Friday as the land forces commander, in a move to end the crisis as swiftly as possible.
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.p...ign-2011-07-29
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-19-2012 at 09:33 PM. Reason: Delete Mod's note and move to start of thread
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    Default Storm brewing?

    From the BBC yesterday:
    There has been a history of tension between the secularist military and the governing AK party, with the two sides engaged in a war of words for the past two years over allegations that parts of the military had been plotting a coup.

    Investigations into those allegations, known as the "Sledgehammer" conspiracy - appear to be the root cause of today's resignations, says the BBC's correspondent in Istanbul, with the senior military wanting to go ahead with scheduled annual promotions for some of the officers implicated - and the government refusing.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14346325

    When this subject has come up before it has been unclear if the prosecutions are substantiated by evidence or an attempt by the government to undermine the military's role as 'guardian' within Ataturk's principles.
    davidbfpo

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    For the first time in Turkey, a serving general is appearing before a civilian court. The general and other senior officers are accused of seeking to overthrow the government in an alleged conspiracy called "Sledgehammer." Prosecutors claim the investigation seeks to end political meddling by the army, but concern is growing that there maybe other motives behind the four-year investigation
    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/...127772643.html

    The dramatic changes in Turkey’s armed forces killed any hope of reviving Israeli-Turkish military cooperation. The indictments against dozens of officers mean in effect that the army will make no attempt to challenge the government’s Israel policy. Furthermore, following the success of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party in eroding the army’s status, the government will make a concerted effort to maintain this achievement.
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdCo...aspx?id=233666


    In foreign policy, a Turkey satisfied with its Islamic identity would stop considering itself intuitively Western, especially given the resonance of the notion of a politically defined “Muslim world” since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. This means an increasingly tense relationship between Turkey and NATO, the symbol of all Western institutions. It also means that Turkey will be open to all sorts of non-Western dalliances. An AKP decision to buy Russian weapons, say, or invite the Chinese to a joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean would be applauded by Turks, including the military.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...jFJ_story.html
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    An AKP decision to buy Russian weapons..
    Too late, IIRC Turkey has purchased Russian weapons before today: MLRS, wheeled APCs and small arms.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Too late, IIRC Turkey has purchased Russian weapons before today: MLRS, wheeled APCs and small arms.
    Alot of Eastern Bloc weapons Turkey has are ex-DDR acquired at bargain basement prices and sourced from W. Germany.
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    Related?

    Turkish aircraft have attacked 60 sites in northern Iraq used as bases by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in a "successful" operation, military headquarters said in a statement.

    It followed an attack by the rebel group that killed nine Turkish troops.

    The statement said the military would press ahead with strikes until the rebels were "rendered ineffective".
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14570301
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Too late, IIRC Turkey has purchased Russian weapons before today: MLRS, wheeled APCs and small arms.
    It’s the big stuff like warships and fighter aircraft that counts, where it is just as much diplomacy as it is an arms deal. Then it gets into countertrades, offset agreements, industrial cooperation, etc. Nobody pays just cash in those deals.

    Small arms, APCs, MLRS on the other hand are relatively simple; they don’t require significant foreign training, and spare parts can probably be sourced from other FSU countries. These kinds of deals don’t have that much money and people going back-and-forth, and do not represent a significant shift in relations.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

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    ISTANBUL, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Former Turkish armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug spent his first night behind bars on Friday, charged with trying to overthrow the government in an unprecedented development likely to exacerbate tensions with the military.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...8C600320120106
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    Default A Different War on Terrorism: The U.S., Turkey and the PKK

    A Different War on Terrorism: The U.S., Turkey and the PKK

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    Default Book Review: Democracy, Islam and Secularism in Turkey

    Book Review: Democracy, Islam and Secularism in Turkey

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    Default Why Syrians in Turkey are Not “Refugees” and Why it Matters

    Why Syrians in Turkey are Not “Refugees” and Why it Matters

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