There is something artificial in Gen. Başbuğ’s “angry”ness. Despite fisting the table, there is something I still did not feel that he was that angry. It was a performance, not too many buys. He comes to use rhetorical devices:”Our soldiers charge into battle crying out ‘Allah, Allah’,” he said, banging his fist on the table.
“How could such an army bomb a mosque? I curse these claims.”
In using this, right wing conservatives feel finally good. Army uses religious rhetoric, in one way or another. Those conservatives always claimed that the army is sacred and only some officials are bad. Now Gen. Başbuğ affirms that claim, at least, he gives a rhetorical evidence…
In the mean time, he concludes by threatening those who “leaks” information. He is more interested in leakages, not in content. In the mean time, citizens tend to trust army officials less than ever…
Gen Basbug has ordered investigations into the allegedly leaked documents
On Monday a furious Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug complained about continued attacks on the military. This was sparked by the most recent revelations that a plot code-named Balyoz (Sledgehammer) allegedly planned a military coup to be staged in 2003, right after the AKP came to power. (click here for more on Balyoz) The Istanbul chief prosecutor launched a probe into the plan after receiving the original documents from the newspaper Taraf, which seems to have access to documents through leaks in the military. The Sledgehammer plot comes on the heels of a number of other alleged plots poetically code named Blonde Girl, Moonlight, Sea-sparkle and Glove. (click here and here for my previous posts on these.)
Chief of General Staff Başbuğ announced that an investigation has been launched into the alleged “Balyoz” coup plan in order to “reveal the truth” and that leakage of information will be investigated too.
Daily Taraf?s reporting on the Sledgehammer plan has intensified the fight within the media and added to the polarization among journalists. The will and courage to publish critical material about the military does not ease simply because the phase Turkey entered in the last decade is pushing democratization ahead in a seemingly irreversible manner.
I am now pretty sure that neither democracy nor security is possible with this military. It is a military that staged four military coups, two failed coup attempts and probably hundreds of plans that did not materialize. Even in the last seven years we know of at least four attempts and one electronic memorandum that was aimed at Parliament and the government.
The biggest event of the past week in Turkey was the disclosure by the Taraf daily of yet another abortive plan of a military overthrow of the elected government. The plan, titled Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan and prepared in 2003 by the 1st Army Command of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) based in İstanbul, comprised the earliest and most treacherous of the various coup conspiracies exposed so far that have aimed to topple the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government since its coming to power in 2002.
Whenever an action plan or a document that collectively targets democracy, civil society, the government and the entire nation was discovered or weapons or ammunition hidden under the ground were exposed, the General Staff opted to deny the authenticity of these documents, information and evidence instead of making convincing statements or launching probes into them.
Yasemin Çongar, the deputy editor-in-chief of the Taraf daily, gives no credence to explanations coming from some in military circles that the senior members of the Turkish military were only making plans for war games and that such a thing is normal.
This is the name of the most recent military plan alleged to have been designed to pave the way for a military coup in late 2002 and 2003, right after the electoral victory (November 2002) of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Although it has been almost a week since the publishing of a subversive military plot with the codename ?Sledgehammer? by the Taraf daily, the General Staff has failed to make any convincing statement that will remove all questions surrounding the plot.
Connoisseurs of all things daft may recollect a 1980s American television sit-com called ?Sledge Hammer!? whose protagonist was a wildly over the top Dirty Harry. The basic plot (according to the Internet Movie Data Base) revolved around ?the adventures of a dumb police detective who always looks for the most violent solution to any problem.?
To be honest with you, today I wanted to seriously question the delicate balance Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has had to strike between legally defining the army?s role in a proper democratic setting by enacting powerful laws; the basic instinct of a politician?s urge to continually use the Justice and Development Party?s (AK Party) victimhood status as a result of junta-lovers? attempts; the burden represented by the steadily increasing number of rotten apples within the party; party members who advocate the view that instead of democratizing the army they must try to become rich as soon as possible; and ?key correspondents? (in army memorandum terms) within the party who whisper in Erdoğan?s ear that some dark forces are trying to sow discord between his party and the army.
The unfolding of horrifying details regarding a coup d?état plot named Sledgehammer — among several others — within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) once again proves that civil-military relations in Turkey are as problematic as ever despite the promising reforms that took place early during the European Union process.
I am looking at the pictures of a key person behind the Sledgehammer plan and reading the details of this plot he hatched with his friends in 2003, envisaging many deaths and the imposition of fascism, very carefully.
[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] Have you taken a look at the recent exposure about the amazing adventures of Turkey’s Dr. Strangelovish generals? It is a must-see. What I am referring to is the action plan called “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) that the liberal daily Taraf published a few days ago. The extensive document, whose full name is the “Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan,” was apparently drafted in 2003, a little after the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, came to power. This was a popularly elected government that most generals disliked – as they probably still do today. Hence they brainstormed together to save the nation from its mistake. And, quite patriotically, they planned a road map for a military coup that would, allegedly, cost the lives of some innocent citizens. (Don’t be surprised: Collateral damage has never been an obstacle to the heroic efforts of our mighty military.)
[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] Political Islam, as you probably have noticed before, is a dirty term. It often refers to angry men who impose veils on women and ban anything that is fun. It even reminds us of the horrific reign of the Taliban, whose heaven on Earth in Afghanistan looked rather like hell for most of us. There is a good reason for this notoriety of political Islam. Its main proponents, such as the Pakistani thinker Abul A’ala Mawdudi (1903-1979), defined it as the effort to create an “Islamic state,” whose main mission would be the imposition of shariah, or Islamic law, within its most rigid and medieval interpretation. This idea has become so dominant in Islamic circles since the mid-20th century that “political Islam” has become associated with the goal of establishing this authoritarian “Islamic state.”
?Turkey needs a new left party which does not make conservatism in society a target, categorically opposing the military?s tutelage over politics and aiming for social justice instead of neo-liberal economic policies,? Associate Professor Mesut Yeğen from the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) sociology department said, adding that such a party is coming very soon.
Amidst debates on the ?sledgehammer,? that according to the public was going to be used against the people and according to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was to be used against imaginary internal enemies, the Constitutional Court has unanimously decided to annul the law that allows military personnel to stand trial in civilian courts.