Has the AKP shelved ‘coup cleansing’?

Has the AKP shelved ‘coup cleansing’?

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Has the AKP shelved ‘coup cleansing’

A commission headed by Bozdağ has found 2.000 articles in the laws and regulations that allow coups. DAILY NEWS photo

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has completed its 10th year. The governing party made significant regulation changes in several “banned” areas – primarily the Kurdish issue – but has not touched the military field yet. Even though it has made some attempts in the name of “becoming more civilian,” it made no legal changes toward the rest of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and for it to be under the rule of political will.

For example, the government defended the General Staff’s reporting to the Ministry of Defense, but no concrete steps were taken in that direction. The government, especially after Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel took office, was content to make “symbolic” gestures such as the prime minister sitting at the leading position at the table during the Supreme Military Council. However, it did not attempt to make a reform movement of “changing the regulation entirely, eliminating those articles that prepare the platform for coups.” Recently, the reason for this was stated as “the army wants to change its own regulations.” It was also said that Özel had conveyed this demand to the prime minister. So, a question comes to mind: “Has the AKP really shelved the regulation change regarding coup cleansing?”
I asked this question to an influential AKP member. He said it was just the opposite and a “comprehensive reform is being prepared.” However, they were waiting for the right time for this. The same person said, “The Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission is working. There will be significant amendment propositions made in that commission that would prevent coups.” As an example, the same source said a constitutional amendment had been prepared regarding the General Staff and force commands’ reporting to the Ministry of Defense. He also pointed out that the Parliament’s Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission was to issue a comprehensive report this week.

Changing mentality

Apparently, the governing party is trying to establish both in Parliament and in governmental studies “the mentality sentencing coups” and then provide the formation of the right climate for a regulation change.

A commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ and made up of the senior judiciary of the AKP, also with the participation of bureaucrats from relevant ministries, is quietly working. The commission has scanned nearly 2,000 articles in the Constitution, laws, regulations, directives and circulars, trying to clear “all articles that allow coups or opportunities for coups” from legislation.

The completion of nearly 2,000 articles, for example, primarily the 35th article of the TSK Internal Service Act which assigns the TSK to “look after and protect the Turkish land and the Republic of Turkey” and other similar articles in laws and regulations will reach the spring of 2013, it is stated. The reason for this is that the commission is scrutinizing. Opening of the TSK to fiscal auditing and new job definitions are also in question.

My source emphasized “the determination to cleanse those articles in the legislation that pave the way to coups” and implied that they were waiting for the Constitution Conciliation Commission to finish its work, because, to make changes to the Constitution while the commission is working on the Constitution may look as if the government is not “sincere” on the subject of the Constitution.

If the parties do not agree and the hope for the new Constitution is totally lost, then the AKP government, at that stage, will bring it to the political agenda, the legislation change that would keep the military in its barracks and prevent any calls for staging coups in the future. The calendar points to the spring of 2013.

Will governors be elected?

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted an “executive” proposition for the new Constitution. The motion proposes the “presidential model” and also suggests a one-chamber Parliament, different from the U.S. model.

The AKP is also holding internal discussions for the election of governors. The opposition, on the other hand, is criticizing the move saying, “They are bringing a state system.”

An AKP member of the Constitution Conciliation Commission, Mustafa Şentop, rebuffed this criticism and defined the election of governors as “localization of democracy.”

Şentop said, “We are trying to establish a democracy where the local has a say. This is not against the unitary structure. It is important that especially legislative and judicial powers are mono. As long as it does not disrupt the unitary structure, it shouldn’t be regarded as heading toward a federation.”

Aygün crisis at CHP

The Alevi dede (socio-religious leader) Seyit Rıza, leader of the Dersim Rebellion, was executed in 1937 during the one-party rule of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). CHP Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün, who is also an Alevi, prepared a motion proposing the re-establishment of Seyit Rıza. This motion stirred up the nationalist wing of the party, as the incident occurred during CHP rule, and the nationalist wing demanded Aygün’s resignation. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has protected Aygün so far; however, the rage of the nationalists has not cooled down. Like Aygün, the nationalists are not likely to back down. This crisis may end with Aygün’s expulsion from the CHP.