The AK Party’s plan for the military
In this country, I rarely came across strategies that have been well-planned and scheduled beforehand. In general, circumstances cause certain decisions to be made. Governments have certain ideas, but they wait for a suitable environment. I wonder if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had a strategy for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) from the beginning, and have implemented this step-by-step, or if they were also waiting for the right circumstances to arise.
The relationship between the AK Party and the TSK, which I have been monitoring since 2003, has been an up-and-down one. I have the impression that if the General Staff had not battered the AK Party so much during its first years, if it hadn’t issued extremely tough warnings, if it hadn’t become involved in the presidential election fight and its aftermath, then the point they are at today would not have been reached. The AK Party did not want to dispute or fight with the military. It had settling accounts on its mind, but it did not expect that the pace would be this fast.
When the General Staff could not abandon its old habits, things got out of hand.
Especially after the Constitutional Court refused to close down the AK Party, the party rolled up its sleeves and the process of settling of accounts started.
A strategy only exisits in the “mind” of the AK Party. The only example of a written policy, of which the details have been carefully studied, is the interview party spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik gave to daily Radikal months ago. It demonstrates a road map.
Here is what Çelik said, how much of it has now taken place, and what else is next:
- Article 35, the internal regulation alleged to give the military the right to intervene in politics, will be eliminated. Preparations are underway to do this.
- The General Staff should report to the Ministry of Defense instead of the Prime Ministry. There is no preparation in sight to make this happen.
- The Gendarmerie should report to Interior Ministry. Preparations are underway.
- Elimination of compulsory military service and transition to a professional army. This is in the planning stage.
- The length of military service should be shortened. This is under review.
- TSK training should be democratized. No preparation to do thisis underway.
- The national security classes in schools should be re-arranged. This is about to go into practice.
- The number of army commands should be re-arranged. If there are any preparations to do this, I don’t know.
- Names given to barracks and officer clubs such as “Mustafa Muğlalı” should be abandoned. This has gone into practice.
- Beating and mistreatment during military service should end. This is always talked about, but never quite practiced.
- The armed forces shows and parades on national holidays should end. This has been put into practice in certain places.
- Military spending should be transparent. A law has been passed to enforce this, but it is not practiced.
- The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance and Pension Fund’s (OYAK) existence and function should be reviewed. Some work is being done on this.
- Productivity, effectiveness and prudence principles should be applied to the TSK. This is said to be applied all the time, but has never given satisfactory results.
Hüseyin Çelik would not say these things without a reason. It is good to note them.
Waves of arrests damage the prestige of the cases
It took a while, but the prime minister has acknowledged the general atmosphere. He has pointed out that the course of events has taken a backward turn. The public conscience is important; justice has not regarded the public conscience at all. It is possible that, just as Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin has said, because the justice system was not used to cases on attempts by the military to topple the government, it did not know how to handle the matter.
This not only suffocates both the domestic and the international public, it also clouds justice in the cases. The justice system should be able to see that.