Jun 06 2018

Turkey’s military has lost its sway – analysis

Turkey’s military has lost its political power and it now works hand in hand with the government, Al Jazeera’s Ahmed El Amraoui and Faisal Edroo said, citing analysts and observers.

Democratic reforms in the early years of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rule, which began in 2003, and a failed military coup in July 2016 mean the military is neither able nor willing to intervene in politics and usurp the government, Amraoui and Edroo said.

"Erdoğan has succeeded in shaking up the system and possibly preventing any future coup attempts,” said Ali Türksen, a former Navy Underwater Special Forces member and a co-founder of the opposition Good Party (IP). “About 40 percent of Turkey's generals and admirals have been dismissed, and they're capturing Gülenist officers on a near-daily basis.”

Turkey blames the coup attempt of 2016 on the Fethullah Gülen movement, who were once Erdoğan’s closest allies in his attempts to crush the military’s influence, politically dominant since Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923. Other rogue officers were also thought to have been part of the coup.

The military has also been through “internal corrective measures” and is not the same organization that it was two or three decades ago. Pro-Western, staunchly secular officers are far less dominant after a series of purges, while those who are more Islamist and back a realignment with Eurasia and Russia are in the ascendency following the failed coup.

The government has now re-opened academies and military schools that were thought to have been under the control of Gülenists and other opposition figures.

"The military leadership and the AKP government are currently on the same page and on very good terms,” said Doruk Ergün, research fellow at EDAM independent think-tank in Istanbul. “They see eye to eye on many issues, and they go hand in hand in many regards."