By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The recent detention of 68 serving and retired military personnel by the Turkish police on suspicion of planning a coup in 2003 has reinforced the deep divisions in Turkish society and escalated the already dangerous tensions between the country’s powerful armed forces and the civilian government. Although there have been arrests of serving and retired military personnel in the past – particularly during the controversial Ergenekon investigation – both the scale of the latest detentions and the claims on which they are based are without precedent. As a result, General İlker Başbuğ, the chief of the General Staff, is now under intense pressure to react; particularly from his colleagues in the officer corps, the vast majority of whom regard the detentions as the latest move in a politically-motivated campaign of lies and disinformation which ultimately aims to destroy the military as an institution.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The critical question today is whether the Turkish secularists will conclude that a reassessment of their ideological stance has become inevitable subsequent to the reversal of the regime of military tutelage. Not unlike the Islamists a decade ago, the seculars face the challenge to either broaden their appeal or concede defeat. Without secular forces making a transition to liberalism, the democratic evolution of Islamic conservatism will remain uncertain.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish military no longer commands the obedience of society. However, the demilitarization of the Turkish polity is not ushering in a reversal of the traditional state-society relationship. The omnipotence of the state is not in any basic sense challenged. The AKP seeks not so much to dismantle the absolute state authority that the military has embodied, as it strives to become its new embodiment.
Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)
The publication in the Turkish media of another slew of documents allegedly containing plans by elements in the Turkish General Staff (TGS) to stage a series of violent attacks and destabilize the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has once again raised tensions between the military and the civilian authorities. The authenticity of the documents has been hotly disputed. But what it is clear is that – regardless of whether or not they are genuine – the frequency with which such documents are now appearing in certain sections of the Turkish media is forcing the Turkish military onto the defensive and reducing its ability to exercise political influence.
By Barry Rubin (vol. 2, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkey-Israel alliance is over. After more than two decades of close cooperation, the Turkish government is no longer interested in maintaining close cooperation with Israel. Nor is it—for all practical purposes—willing to do anything much to maintain its good relations with Israel. The absence of any substantial, public criticism in Turkey of the Turkish government’s break with Israel does suggest the Turkish-Israeli relationship lacked deeper roots in Turkish society, and hence the potential to become a permanent one.
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.