Opposition says military bill is designed to increase Turkish PM's authority

Opposition says military bill is designed to increase Turkish PM's authority

The government’s new military law bill is aimed at further strengthening Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and “injecting politics into the army,” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Koray Aydın has stated.

Parliament’s General Assembly has started debating a bill that amends the Military Law, which the opposition says will damage the promotion system in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

During debates on late Feb. 6, opposition lawmakers voiced doubts over the motives of the government-led bill, arguing that it was not aimed at democratization of the TSK, but rather bringing it under the control of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The trial of force commanders should not be under the authorization of the prime minister or one minister, Aydın said, adding that a Supreme Court of Appeals prosecutor should also be authorized.

He said that giving partial jurisdiction to the interior minister, or the prime minister, or the president, is against the Constitution.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mustafa Moroğlu said the bill, which is presented as democratization, actually “puts pressure on commanders through the judiciary.”

However, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz ironically stated that his government would be uncomfortable if a chief of staff was accused of being a terrorist, in an indirect reference to former Chief of Staff İlker Başbuğ, who was convicted of being the “leader of a terrorist group.”