The image of the TSK is increasingly deteriorating

The image of the TSK is increasingly deteriorating

Think for a minute about the former image and prestige of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the eyes of the public.

It was an army that used to be excellent in everything, that made no mistakes, dressed impeccably, was honest, effective and according to foreigners was the “world’s most disciplined” army. We used to regard the TSK this way. More precisely, the TSK demonstrated itself to be this way. We did not know what was going on inside the institution. Especially in the field of fighting terrorism, it was the most competent of all.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) would have partitioned off a portion of this country long ago if it hadn’t been for the extraordinary accomplishments of the army. Even if the TSK had not won the war against terrorism, it had silenced the PKK and driven them back to their caves. That was the general perception.

However, the scene today is very different. What is important is the general view of the public. This is what is bothering me, anyway. The society does not scrutinize the origins of anything. It does not go into the details of politically motivated cases or accusations that hint at conspiracy. It melts each development in one pot and makes a general evaluation.

Today, in several segments of society, doubts about the competence of the TSK are gradually increasing. Previously, it was never mentioned that an army member could commit a crime. Now, 404 members of the army are on trial. Of these 64 are generals or admirals, 273 are lower-ranking officers, 60 are noncommissioned officers, four are privates and three are civilian officers. Even if half of these are being tried in connection with of cases that have been opened and conducted with “conspiracy” or “ill will,” the other half is enough to generate question marks.

The espionage accusation involving top-level commanders in the Naval Forces (even though the accusation in fact does not involve espionage) astounds people.

The army is also experiencing major disappointment in fighting terrorism. No one looks into the reasons behind the current situation; they only look at the outcome. The PKK attacks the country faces every day look like a failure on the part of our giant army. It is being mentioned that the TSK cannot guard the stations, cannot provide the necessary defense for the troops it has dispatched. In short, its “incompetence” is being discussed.

The public forms an opinion about each incident. There is no right or wrong in this. No matter how wrong it may be, once public opinion is set, it will not change for many years.

The General Staff is now considering this danger, and calling for a reform of its top priorities. It is probably pondering how to stop this course, and how to make reforms. This job requires more than issuing tough statements, being praised by the prime minister, and epic heroic documentaries or articles. A reform that would go deep into the roots of the TSK and reorganize the entire mechanism is needed.

Otherwise, the TSK will lose its place even in the hearts of those who love it most.

Emergency lane
This nation does not know what an emergency lane is or how it is used, and it does not seem to want to learn. Those who have learned do not care either. The emergency lane, all over the entire world, is used by broken-down vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks and security vehicles only. No one else can use that lane.

Let’s look at the situation in our roads. Current and former parliamentary deputies believe they have a right to use the emergency lane. Municipality vehicles use it. Public buses hop into that lane when they are stuck in traffic. All military vehicles, heads of associations, and black- and green-plated vehicles believe they have a right to be in that lane.

The police must be fed up: They do not even deal with these violations.