Posted by Joshua on Saturday, March 6th, 2010
A comment on the clash between Erdogan and the military by Serdar
(This is copied from the comment section on the last post: “Turkey at a Crossroad: Democracy or Military Rule?”)
One must be very careful, and the comments so far about what’s happening in Turkey are quite naive, while the balance of articles provided by Syria Comment are quite good.
An authoritarianism is being displaced by another one which is forming its own security structures and apparatus. The coverage in the international media has so far been quite one sided.
If Erdogan and party genuinely want to enable more democracy they have to:
1. Remove the immunity from prosecution armor around MPs, where it applies not only to freedom of speech related matters but also to plain corruption cases/inquiries. There are many such strong cases against their MPs including Gul and Erdogan themselves.
2. Enable reform of the judicial system, by improving the funding for the courts, part of the problem is that cases take forever to resolve.
3. Remove the 10% barrier to representation in Parliament as mentioned in one of the articles quoted above.
I think one should not get too carried away about Zionist conspiracies and the like. The Turkish people still overwhelmingly trust the army (77%) than the government (55%) or the political system. Of course the army should not have intervened in 1997 the so-called “soft coup” which removed Erbakan, but this enabled AK Party members to break off from the previous Islamist party of Erbakan and take a more centrist position. The army enabled AK government to an extent. The inner workings of the army are largely modern and meritocracy based, the officer class is very well trained and professional, and face it, it was an officer of the Ottoman army who founded the republic. The army has a great stake in protecting the republic.
In the final analysis, I don’t think AK party and the military will have a final confrontation, but they will come to an accommodation.
Who do you think is monitoring phone conversations, discussions in meetings (both in Ankara and in Brussels) among the top brass of the army and leaking it to the pro-AK Party press. This has taken place more than a few times over the past few months. My candidates are foreign intelligence services–but they are leaking them to the anti-Army faction.
Look, US is very nervous that Turkey will move away from the NATO camp, it is actually the more pro-Eurasian, more pro-Kemalist and anti-NATO officers that are being targeted in the recent goings on. Yes, these officers are also anti AK Party, but this is not a distinguishing feature, almost all officers are anti AK Party. If anything the US administration prefers this “moderate Islamic” Turkey to a more nationalistic secularist and anti-NATO Turkey.
I know this is going to raise eyebrows, but it is hard to understand what’s going on in Turkey on the basis of the analyses in the foreign press. The (essentially) only English language Turkish paper Today’s Zaman is extremely one-sided with a very strong Pro AK Party bias.
Thanks to Joshua for the wonderful forum Syria Comment.