Professionalism Journey of the Turkish Military before and after the July 15 Attempted Coup

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Unsal SIGRI, Baskent University, Turkey
Kadir VAROGLU, Baskent University, Turkey
The Turkish Military has faced a tough mission of reducing its size while increasing its effectiveness and transitioning from a citizen army to a professional one by reducing the number of conscripts and bringing partially "contractual soldiers system” in recent years. The military has started to recruit professionals in limited numbers for years and informed the public about the benefits of contractual soldiering, but so far it did not go well because of the hard working conditions in military and counter-terrorism efforts of military. Turkey has experienced, for the first time in the Republic’s history, a coup attempt by a religious community, known as the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), who secretly flourished in the cadres of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). This attempt also damaged institutional reputation, affected the TSK’s combat effectiveness, and created problems in filling critical posts and finding new professional soldiers as well. The military is now trying to find personnel in a competitive marketplace and has to emulate the techniques used by private sector firms. Intensive counter-terrorism efforts of Turkish military made working environment tough for years. The situation with the attempted coup after July 15 made it even harder to repair bad reputation of the military and surely, the institution has to recognize that thousands of young people no longer wait in line to join the army and the military needs and must modify its organizational culture preserving its own core values. The implications of July 15 attempted coup are much bigger than just Turkish domestic politics. Turkish military will continue to fulfill its international engagements while implementing democratic norms at home while restructuring itself with crucial and immediate reforms focusing not only the tangible factors but also dealing seriously with intangibles like “organizational culture, values and organizational politics”.