Civil Military Relations in Turkey before and after the July 15 Failed Coup Attempt

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Kadir VAROGLU, Baskent University, Turkey
Unsal SIGRI, Baskent University, Turkey
After 9/11 the armed forces are important actors in many countries and involving in many different roles in addition to security as Turkish military have experienced. This paradigm shift on the rising role of armed forces had an important role in designing “civil-military relations” (CMR). The military Turkey had been the most powerful institution in the country for years. In addition to global impacts, Turkey has been experiencing a paradigm shift in its CMR in recent years and especially after July 15 attempted military coup. 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). From Huntington’s objective control to Janowitz’ subjective control of the military, Turkey’s revolutionary civilianization process has implemented reforms one after the other at a breakneck pace in recent months. The paradigm shift has gained speed toward “complete civilianization”, but the relationship between civilization and democratization of the military has not been balanced yet. Turkey has overarching dilemma in the post-July 15 setting regarding CMR, whether to monopolize or democratize CMR for more effective civilian control. That is, on the one hand, the monopolization of CMR, implying transfer of power from the military elites to the elected executive Presidency enables strict civilian control of the military by the elected civilian president; on the other hand, democratization of CMR enables diffusion of power among the elected president, elected government, and parliamentary and civil society actors such as academia, think thanks, and media so as to create a more effective oversight and monitoring system over the military. The damage from this failed coup will continue to put pressure on all Turkish institutions, including the military as well in the near future.