By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s membership in NATO has many unique dimensions, including in the number of missile-related crises the country has experienced. Washington pledged to withdraw its nuclear missiles from Turkey during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in return for securing a Soviet nuclear pull-out from Cuba. In 1990 and 2003, Turkey had to overcome West European qualms about deploying NATO air defense systems in Turkey to counter Saddam Hussein’s threats. After considerable wavering, Turkey averted a major NATO crisis in 2010 when it agreed to host advanced U.S. ballistic missile defense radar. Now Turkey has secured a NATO commitment to relocate some of the alliance’s most advanced air and missile interceptors despite considerable foreign and some domestic opposition.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)
The sentences in the Sledgehammer trial demonstrate the subjugation of the military to civilian, democratic, legal authority. But at the same time, it is not in the interest of the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that the officer corps is further demoralized. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan no longer has an interest in wielding a sledgehammer against the military. The outcome of the trial of the generals must be viewed against the backdrop of the new power struggle that rages in Turkey, between the AKP and the movement of Fethullah Gülen.
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.
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.