Spotlight on Geopolitics

Christmas Plots in Turkey

While Europeans partied this Christmas, on the Islamic side of the Bosphorus Turkish army personnel were busy undermining their country’s shaky democracy. According to The Economist, two Turkish Special Forces agents were arrested over a plot to assassinate deputy prime minister Bulet Arinc. For the first time in the country’s history, civilian authorities were able to raid the central command of the special forces, thanks to a new law adopted by parliament in 2009, making it possible to try army personnel in civilian courts.

In my previous postings and articles, I have labelled Turkey as “the country of the permanent coups d’etat“, one in which the army plays a bigger-than-normal role in public affairs and interferes with democratic processes, regularly attempting to topple elected leaders. Also according to The Economist, the military have been directly responsible for the demise of four elected governments since the 1960’s.

The new 2009 law, however, and the relative stability of Turkish politics under the Erdogan leadership have the potential to uproot such an unenviable tradition. If that happens, Turkish democracy might finally find the balance it has been lacking over the past half-century.

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  1. Obviously, writer had based his comments on some premature information/article on economist. (a slight touch of Kemalist militarist Turkey jargon, country of coups etc. seems the writer is on the right wing of greek media or at least a huge fan).

    This issue had been all over media and almost all details are exposed already. Special forces officers are announced to be on an investigation towards another officer who is suspected to be a mule exposing information outside. There were no guns or technical intelligence device along the officers and Bulent Arinc (a controversial politician from ruling AKP and currently a minister in cabinet) was outside of Ankara when arrest has happened. So it would be quite meaningless to assume that two highly trained special forces officers were trying to set up a plot without equipment or guns at a terribly wrong time.

    It is the common understanding of general public that this incident is a planned and organized attempt of AKP elite (government) to manipulate political agenda after the disastrous handling of Kurdish Minority Rights movement. Governments amateur and arrogant approach not only created a huge aproar in general public but also proved to be gain them a 10% loss in political support. AKP’s general attitude at these kinds of crisis times (which became a tradition now) is to create an incident that would make them to be perceived “attacked, vulnerable, lonesome fighter of democracy”. A similar incident had provided them a %40 vote in recent elections.

    So the plot here is not a plot of army against government, but rather a plot of ruling political party against army. Many details like police intelligence who trapped the officers, seeded false evidences on them, the public prosecutor who violated the secrecy of judicial investigation etc etc are current important discussions in Turkey and yet to be solved mysteries.

    One last but not least note, Turkey is a diverse, big and complicated country. Personally I had seen many occasions that an outside observer cannot make sense of events happening. So I would recommend to follow Turkish media and acedemic sources (which is widely available on internet in English) rather then an article on economist.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Outsiders have the unpleasant quality of being more objective and astute observers of events than “insiders”. The Economist, on the other hand, is one of the most reliable sources of economic and political analysis on the European continent.

    Although I have a Greek name, I am an independent Romanian historian and journalist. On occasion I could influence the Greek media, but not the other way round.

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