Turkish opposition lays criticisms over gov’t plans on army

Turkish opposition lays criticisms over gov’t plans on army

Turkish opposition lays criticisms over gov’t plans on army

AFP photo

Turkey’s opposition parties voiced their diverse opinions about the third state of emergency decree law which would put the army under civil control, with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) arguing that the changes would subordinate the army under political rule and thus cause it to lose its command capabilities and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) along with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) objecting to the undemocratic means through which this civil change was being conducted. 

The restructuring of the state in the wake of the failed July 15 coup attempt cannot be conducted by just “three or four people,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said, suggesting that the Turkish parliament must oversee the issue.

“If this state is all of ours… the place to restructure this state should be parliament, which is chosen by the votes of the nation. The fact that three or four people are restructuring the state without talking and consulting anyone is unacceptable,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan.

Kılıçdaroğlu also stated that his party supported the army being restructured and falling under civil authority.
“The restructuring of the army is a must. However, this cannot be done with action and reaction, hate and distrust. It is something to be done with knowledge and accumulation. Culture and traditions [must be] regarded. This cannot be done by waking up one morning and saying, ‘This will be done in this way from now on.’ We have to sit down and discuss these matters together. Parliament cannot be bypassed,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, warning that such an approach could create new dangers for Turkey.

Meanwhile, the CHP leader also said Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım should have informed other parties regarding the recent restructuring process.

Sidelining political parties and trade unions in the process will poison the positive atmosphere that has emerged since July 15 and could be perceived as a move to take advantage of the coup attempt, he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu added that he also informed Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman about the party’s concerns over the issue.

The HDP also said it had long supported the army being checked by the democratic parliament but objected to this change being carried out through the decree laws.

“State of emergency laws should be compatible with the issues and aims that were the subjects of state of emergency declarations. Otherwise, it would turn into arbitrariness. Our first warning was this. Doing things that should be done by a constitutional change and law change via decree law shatters the democratic ground deeply,” said HDP legal affairs representative Meral Daniş Beştaş. 

The MHP on the other hand, claimed that the changes aimed to overhaul the army would lead to its politicization and thus harm its corporate character. 

“With the regulation, while making terms with pro-coup terrorists, would also lead to inviting big troubles. Especially putting the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] under the Defense Ministry and issues related to the Presidency needs to be done through political reconciliation. This is a risky regulation that would cause the TSK to be politicized and damage its command hierarchy. There is a threat of lack of coordination,” said MHP group deputy chair Erkan Akçay. 

As part of the newly-passed decree, the Land Forces, Naval Forces and Air Force commands will come under the control of the Defense Ministry, while the president and the prime minister will have the authority to receive direct information and issue force commanders direct orders that will be executed immediately without the need for approval from another post.