Fox-type Gülenist officer

Fox-type Gülenist officer

One of the things that drew my attention the most during the proceedings following last year’s failed coup attempt was the “denialist” attitude of the officers on trial over charges of involvement in the coup attempt. 

The man spent a whole night at the coup headquarters, his images were recorded in its corridors and rooms, some of them even have voice recordings, but none of them are accepting they were coup plotters. The images are denied, the voices are disclaimed.

He claims that he witnessed the coup from a headquarters to which he went by chance in a totally different city than the one of his duty. 

It is obvious that this is the way of behavior exhibited as part of a defense strategy. These types are such that they have been getting military discipline since young ages. 

First the military high school, then the war academy, then service school, and then active duties in the military. That’s where they must have learned to be “officers and gentlemen.”

This is also the result of internalization of the military discipline. You are told that you will not lie, you would remain distant, you will be honest, and you will respect yourself as well as your colleagues. 

But none of them owns up to their words and says courageously, “Yes, I have attempted a coup, my task in it was this or that; I did so because I believe in this truth.”

While thinking of how I was to make sense out of this, I read an article by the academic Metin Gürcan, a former soldier, on the t24 online news portal.  

Gürcan names this type of Gülenist military officer a “fox-type officer,” and as this explains the situation very well, I use this term as well.  

Gürcan wrote about the defense strategies of these “fox-type officers” in the coup trials. “First, they are playing to the ‘gray areas’ in the paralyzed decision-making mechanisms of the Turkish Armed Forces on the night of July 15 [2016], Second, they keep it at a personal level, avoiding to be seen as involved with the organization. Third, they aim to take the incident out of concrete legal judgement processes and move it to the political and social level. Fourth, they want to ‘internationalize’ the trial processes. Fifth, by involving the families, they want to establish a social resistance circle. Six, by politicizing and rendering the concrete legal processes into sensationalized issues, they want to distract attention. Seven, by extending the trials over a period of time, they want to have the legitimacy of the judgement processes be questioned. Finally, they want us to make many legal violations as far as possible,” Gürcan explained. 

Gürcan also points out that during their defenses, the “fox officers” are trying to take advantage of the fact that the judges and prosecutors on duty in courts are “civilians” and are not knowledgeable about the institutional functioning of the Turkish Armed Forces. 

“In many of the judicial processes, when technical topics such as the crisis management process at the Air Forces, ‘Alarm Plans’ at the Special Forces, or the assignment procedures of the personnel off duty/on training/on leave at the Turkish Armed Forces are talked about, we see that the defendants immediately win ‘psychological superiority’ over the judges and lawyers of the injured parties. For example, there are experienced soldiers, many of whom in the ranks of major, captain, and sergeant majors who are members of the special forces, but said as they received a call from a high-ranking officer they rushed, without questioning this instruction on the phone, to Marmaris [where the president was holidaying at the initial stage of the coup], in their words, ‘to a terror operation,’” Gürcan said.

He also asked, “In the face of these statements from these defendants, why doesn’t a ‘military expert’ stand ready in the relevant court who can explain to the judge that this is not a ‘routine’ practice?”