Declaration of mobilization no joke
The supreme leader of Turkey declared at a routine congregation of village headmen at his extravagant palace that he had decided to declare a national mobilization against the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang and its extensions under various names, the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) zealots as well as the “Fethullah Terror Gang” (FETÖ) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) urban terrorist group and all other terrorist groups “whatever their name, whatever their claims, targets or method of attack might be.”
Is it a relevant question under the prevailing conditions in the country to ask whether such a declaration by the president was relevant, meaningful or compatible with the national charter, laws and regulations of the country? It is neither a joke nor just one of those iron laws but a bitter reality of Turkey: Article 1: The president is always right. Article 2 and the rest: When he is wrong, the first article applies. That’s all.
In any case, some might say, Turkey has been under a government of emergency rule for the past many months since the July 15 failed coup. Did it fail? That’s another discussion but in a country with a failed coup, if the governance system regarding the atmosphere of rights and liberties has changed so dramatically, is it not appropriate to wonder what it would have been like had the coup succeeded?
Of course, there are differences as well as similarities between emergency rule and a declaration of a national mobilization. First of all, both lands a country or region in an extraordinary administration, limits liberties, gives vast powers to those in power and makes life unbearable for the entire population, including those who declare at every opportunity their readiness to sacrifice their lives for the well-being of their sacrosanct leader.
Now, let’s first clarify one thing: Erdoğan has not declared mobilization and, indeed, he cannot declare mobilization. He just made a visit to the notion, disclosing his intention of walking down such a road. It is of course not a big deal for Erdoğan to fulfill the procedural formalities and get a mobilization declaration by the government, yet he cannot do it – as he is not yet the super president – alone. The constitution states that, meeting under the chairmanship of the president, the cabinet might declare mobilization… Do we have such a government decision? No… Thus, the mobilization declaration is one for the galleries and has no legal impact. This is of great importance.
Under the “Law on Mobilization and State of War,” the government might declare a restrictive or regional mobilization or go for the second option and declare a national mobilization. National mobilization requires that all power and resources of the country be put at the disposal of the government and the military command to eradicate the very reason why mobilization was declared in the first place. Restrictive or regional mobilization places all resources and the entire public establishment in that particular area under the command of the local commander serving under strict directives from the government. At times of mobilization, the government might declare martial law and in that case, if there is already emergency rule in the country or in that particular region, it is automatically replaced with martial law.
Under such circumstances, local commanders might acquire some special powers, including establishing military tribunals. Those violating martial law, irrespective of whether they are civilian or military people, are tried at military tribunals under Turkey’s existing legislation.
That is, the declaration of mobilization is no joke and cannot be so easily declared at a meeting of the almighty, all powerful, tall, bold and bald leader of a country at a meeting with some village headmen.
The last time Turkey declared national mobilization was during World War II when the government of the country was doing its best to make the best use of the country’s national resources and stay out of the catastrophe devastating the world. The food rationing and other such extraordinary measures of that period have often been exploited by the current political Islamist and revanchist governance to attack the early republican secular government in the country.
Can Turkey declare mobilization now? Is there any reason to undertake such an extraordinary move? What is it that Turkey could not achieve under the current emergency law that Erdoğan wants to achieve with a declaration of mobilization?