The military high school dilemma
Dear President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,
On your return flight from Russia, you spoke with journalists on board, referring to the statement of former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ on military high schools.
You said, “I don’t agree with the statement saying that they don’t agree with the closing of military high schools. I’m sorry but who are those who tried to stage a coup? Aren’t they the ones who have a military high school background?”
While Başbuğ was explaining his views on military high schools on my television show, he did not say, “They should absolutely not be closed.”
Since I think you were not fully informed, here is exactly what Başbuğ said on this topic, word for word: “Can military high schools be closed? This can be debated. I cannot present a very strong argument, like 100 percent, saying that ‘military high schools should stay.’ If you ask my opinion, I would say I think of them as institutions that would be beneficial if they are maintained.”
Also in your statement you asked, “Who are those who tried to stage a coup? Aren’t they the ones who have a military high school background?”
It is not true that the coup plotters are graduates of military high schools, dear president. Let us look at the figures: The number of arrested or detained generals and admirals is 123. The number of arrested or detained generals and admirals from a civilian high school background is 68. The rate of civilian high school graduates to arrested and detained number of generals and admirals is 55 percent. As you can see, in this case, the rate of military high school graduates among these officers is 45 percent.
Closing or not closing military high schools is a separate matter. But the information that all the coup plotters have a military high school background is not true. The number of coup plotters coming from civilian high schools is more than the number of coup plotters with a military high school background.
Kindly submitted for you information.
Leaders before and after July 15
Erdoğan was subject to minor and seldom criticisms, even from his own neighborhood. There were people who thought he was overly exaggerating the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) business. But the 14-year-old venture was continuing: Those who loved him did so dearly; those who hated him did so dearly. Now, after July 15, those who love him love him even more and there is a visible moderation among those who hate him.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was expected to be a low-profile prime minister. His public speaking skills were considered weak. He was expected to be weak in directing domestic and foreign politics. Since July 15, he has built much trust. His public speaking excelled; he immediately intervenes in times of crisis. He is a problem-solver.
Before July 15, Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had tried soft opposition. It did not work. Neither did his attempt to not pay attention to Erdoğan. Then he started being very tough opposition, which did not work either. Whatever he did, did not work. He was crushed by the giant propaganda machine of the government. After July 15, he did and does his best not to ruin the climate of unity and togetherness. He did his best to transform the anti-coup atmosphere into a democratic one. Exactly for this reason, those who hated him up until yesterday are now respecting him.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli was accused of being a crutch for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and Erdoğan. The opposition wished his strongest rival to win. He was having very difficult and tough times. That night of July 15, he came forward without looking who was with him, even before some cabinet ministers. He said, “We are against the coup and beside the civilian government.” He shattered all paradigms about his leadership qualities. Now he has a strong position and his opponents are not as reactionary as they used to be.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was in a difficult situation. He was short of arguments. Whatever he said was not effective. The escalating outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror devaluated his words. He had gone back to his ghetto, abandoning the neighborhoods he had opened up before June 7, 2015, elections. After the July 15 coup attempt, he never credited the people who took to the streets and risked their lives. He is still in a difficult situation. He has still not found an effective exit.