Friday, July 29, 2011

NewsFlash: Turkey's Top Military Brass Resign En masse

Troops march past a large poster of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern state of Turkey.  Atatürk foresaw the destructiveness of combining Islamic law with state power and structured the military to counter any encroachment of political power by religious forces.  Several military coups have kept Turkey out of the orbit of radical Islamist influence...until now.

Turkey’s Military Chief Said to Resign -J.D. Goodman

The top commander of Turkey’s military resigned suddenly, the semi-official Anatolian News Agency reported, in a dramatic signal of deepening tensions between the armed forces and the country’s [increasingly radical] Islamic government.

Local media reports also indicated that the commanders of the country’s navy, army and air force had also stepped down, though their reports were attributed to unnamed officials and could not be immediately verified.

The military chief of staff, Isik Kosaner, sent a letter of resignation to the prime minister’s office, the state-run agency said, without elaborating on his reason.

Earlier, Mr. Kosaner met with the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and President Abdullah Gul, according to local media reports. Shortly after, according to an account in the daily Hurriyet, Mr. Kosaner as well as the army commander, Gen. Erdal Ceylanoglu; the navy chief, Adm. Esref Ugur Yigit; and the commander of the air force, Gen. Hasan Aksay, stepped down.

It was not immediately clear why the country’s top military leaders would resign en masse. The Associated Press reported that the move came only hours after 22 people, including several generals and officers, were charged in a campaign on the Internet to undermine the civilian government.

A rift between Turkey’s long-powerful, secular military, broadly respected in Turkish society, and the popular ruling party has grown wider in recent years.
[New York Times]


Turkey's Military Leaders Resign: High-Stakes Power Struggle -Soner Cagaptay

The Turkish military on Friday staged an "inverted coup" with a strike-style walkout by its top leadership. Chief of Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner resigned, as did the heads of the Turkish Army, Navy and Air Force. A headless military is a risk in a country flanked by Iran, Iraq, and Syria, the last of which is undergoing revolutionary turmoil on the other side of a 500 mile-long border.

In 2007, the ruling AKP party launched a court case, known as Ergenekon, which alleged a coup plot against the government and accused the military of involvement. Four years and hundreds of arrests later, the case has yet to reach a verdict. Around half of all Turkish admirals have been jailed. The final straw came when pro-AKP media suggested that 14 active-duty generals and admirals who had been arrested, though not yet indicted, would be forced to resign. Furthermore, police arrested 22 additional top-brass officers.

By walking out, the military has in a way conceded defeat to the AKP. Yet, at the same time, the government needs a military, and a secular military is currently its only option.
(Daily Beast)

Turkey's Islamic Revolution -Benny Morris

The Turkish Islamists, who took control of the country after democratic elections in 2002, are well on their way to completing a revolution. This weekend, they ticked another important "V" with the mass resignation of the country's top military brass and their immediate replacement by Islamist-friendly generals.

The Turks may soon find an emulator in Egypt, where Islamists seem set to take over the state by democratic means. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties may be expected to follow the same Turkish paradigm, in which a state is gradually subordinated to Islam and removed from the West's orbit by a slow, incremental process which the West finds itself unable to counter.
(National Interest)


LHwrites said...

Not good stuff. It does seem more like a defeat for the military. While a military is needed I am not sure how a secular military is the only option. If the government now installs radicals as the leaders of the military they may slowly turn the military body in the wrong direction as well.

Bruce said...

A problem for the Turkish Islamists leading the government, is that there are no Islamist military leaders to elevate...or at least competent ones. The military has been secular for a very long time, and has played positive role in tempering civilian governments when they've gotten out of hand. Now, unfortunately, the Islamists have clipped the wings of the military so that they cannot act. Turkey will now compete with Iran for the role of most destructive country in that part of the world. Good thing that Iran's Shia despise Turkey's Sunni.