My friendly suggestion to the General Staff

My friendly suggestion to the General Staff

Let me explain the aim of this piece first, in order not to break the eggs in the basket.

If you have noticed, for some time, the relationship between the government and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) – also a significant portion of the civilian segment – has been settling on a brand new platform.

There are no condescending attitudes, as there used to be.

There are no giving lessons with tough statements, announcing views on how to run the country and warnings on secular issues.

The General Staff has withdrawn and is minding its own business. It is ignoring provocations.
I think it is doing the right thing.

My suggestion is about the removal or relocation of certain symbols of the past.

Not a long story, I will only mention two symbols in short and explain myself.

At the top of the symbols list comes the Turkish Military Academy in Ankara. The preparations of the May 27 coup were undertaken there and the Talat Aydemir uprising stemmed from there. That place has been the source of the March 12 and September 12 coups as well.

Take a look at the archives. You will see frequent marching and demonstrations of cadets. I never forgot that former Foreign Minister İhsan Sabri Çağlayangil from the Justice Party (AP) used to tell his close aides, “As long as the Military Academy stays in Ankara, we will not be free of the threat of coups.” We were angry at him when he said these words, but in time we understood he was telling the truth.

In the future, there will inevitably be a suggestion from either society or the government to “demilitarize Ankara.” The course of events points to that direction. My suggestion is that the General Staff takes this step.

My second suggestion concerns the magnificent residence of the 1st Army Commander, situated on Istanbul’s Fenerbahçe shore. In the past, that area was completely empty and a vast lot was allocated for the residence of the army commander and other commanders. Now, that place irritates everybody. People are grumbling.

The state can build both the Military Academy and the Commander’s residence at Fenerbahçe – as modern as the present ones – in a different location, and be sure that this move will be applauded.

Let me remind you: when he was the Mayor of Ankara, Murat Karayalçin proposed a similar suggestion regarding the Turkish Military Academy in 1991 to the then-Chief of General Staff Doğan Güreş and it was accepted. I talked to Karayalçin, who said, “The commander accepted my proposal. I was going to make the area a green zone. However, I did not have the financial means to transfer the Military Academy to a new campus outside the city. Because of that, I could not do it.”

However, and this is a however in capital letters, this suggestion has a ground rule: that the area left by the TSK not become a concrete jungle. It should not be shared among municipalities with the purpose of receiving unearned income or be granted to TOKİ for the building of mass houses. No matter what you say, we are masters in disastrously building concrete jungles in our cities.

Just take a look around where you live: all those green areas left are either military zones or cemeteries. The same mistakes should not be repeated. If it will be succumbed to buildings again, then I am withdrawing my proposal. I can even start a campaign for the military to stay.

What do you think?

Would you accept or reject my suggestion?