By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
The trial of the two surviving members of the junta that seized power on September 12, 1980, in a coup that altered Turkey’s course, is an historic event, but it does not reflect any desire to settle accounts with a regime whose framework, on the contrary, is preserved. What would amount to the ultimate conviction of Kenan Evren would be if the constitution that bears his signature were to be scrapped and replaced with a democratic one. But instead, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to concentrate even more power into his hands than Evren once did.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 5, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
In the early hours of January 6, 2012, General İlker Başbuğ, who served as chief of the Turkish General Staff from 2008 to 2010, was arrested and imprisoned on allegations of “founding or directing an armed terrorist organization” and “inciting the overthrow of the government of the Turkish Republic or the prevention of it fulfilling its duties”. For many, the arrest of Başbuğ on terrorist charges will be regarded not so much as demonstrating that the General staff is no longer untouchable but that the Fethullah Gülen Movement has the power to imprison whoever it likes.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
The resignations on July 29, 2011, of the Turkish chief of staff and all three force commanders are without precedent in modern Turkish history. They were portrayed in the most of the international media as the military’s final admission of defeat in a long-running political power struggle with the civilian government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In reality, any contest for power had long since been decided in favour of the AKP. The resignations were a product of the period that followed – not preceded or accompanied – the AKP’s assertion of supremacy; namely, a protest against what the military regarded as the AKP’s abuse of its monopoly of political power to persecute and imprison hundreds of members of the officer corps.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s recent decision to spend billions of dollars buying U.S.-made helicopters underscores the continuing significance of Turkish-American defense industrial ties. Sikorsky Aircraft beat out rival European firms to persuade the Defense Industry Executive Committee, Turkey's highest decision-making body on defense procurement, to select the U.S.-based company as its supplier of next-generation utility helicopters. Defense experts predict that Turkey might buy as many as 600 of the Turkish version of the S-70 Black Hawk International offered by Sikorsky at a cost of more than $20 billion. Turkish Aerospace Industries and other Turkish firms will co-produce the helicopter.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 4, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
There is a grim irony to the fact that while the AKP’s 2007 victory represented a defeat for the military, victory four years later requires that the ideology – Turkish nationalism – that upholds militarism not be challenged. The AKP’s appeasement of Turkish nationalism lays bare the limits of how far Turkey’s democratization can be extended. Meanwhile, the army’s unprovoked offensive against Kurdish guerillas in the southeast of the country reveals how the manipulation of the Kurdish issue serves as a lever for perpetuating the power of the military.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.