The risk of the military… - ALI BAYRAMOĞLU

The risk of the military…

If security-related incidents increase and the country finds itself in a suffocating policing climate, then the first result will be the coming to prominence of security-linked institutions.

If these incidents have at their roots an issue, the Kurdish issue for example, that sends a warning to the central nervous system of the state with regard to its institutions, ideology and essence, then this coming to prominence of security-linked institutions will also affect the tone adopted by the regime.

The Turkish political system is still in the process of emerging from being under military influence. A lot of residue still remains. Most importantly, there remains a gargantuan memory bank. The steps taken are really short when considering their ratio to the time span that extends from military empire to military republic.

In such a circumstance any mobility catches the eye.

The call issued to the military and its appearance in public areas during the Oct. 6-7 incidents was a khaki-colored situation we hadn’t witnessed in a long time.

In the four important incidents (the Hakkari attack, the accusation of contact with ISIL, the murder of a village guard, and the Diyarbakır assassination) that have occurred since the Oct. 6-7 events the Office of the Chief of General Staff has issued strongly worded statements to affect public opinion.

The return to issuing statements by the military, a habit it had abandoned for a while, can perhaps be explained as a consequence of these events that led members of the armed forces into traps. However, this is not a comforting situation.

It is not right as part of a democratic order for the military to release details of radio conversations between PKK members, to announce the perpetrator of the murder committed, and react emotionally, with rage, and politically. A civilian approach is not appropriate for the military.

Following the Sept. 12, 1980 period and after the Turgut Özal period, “the return of the military to politics” was when the then chief of staff reacted to debates on the Basque model during Tansu Çiller’s term as prime minister.

From this perspective the Kurdish issue is critical in every sense.

It was critical in the past and will continue to be critical in the future.

The risk of militarization is this country remains an open-ended one given its past, its political culture, its domestic political tensions, its geographical location and developments in the region.

The political leadership needs to maintain a low tolerance level on this topic.

There are three ways to do this:

1-Remind the military of its limits.

2-Prevent a security-focused atmosphere from taking hold in the country when faced with major societal problems. Political wisdom needs to be used at the right time, and better and preventative strategies need to be implemented to achieve this.

3-It has to distance itself from a centralist and statist model, which is a residue of the military tutelage tradition that itself was created by centralist and statist politics and placed society under pressure.

It has to be politicians and the president that issue this reminder. The approach to this problem has to be based on rules and principles, not on the logic of what is convenient for the politicians or military staff that are in close proximity.

This points to the absolute need for a hierarchy and serious dependency between the political and military structure.

Political measures should bear the characteristics of displaying the advantage of the “merits of politics” and displaying the preventative power of dialogue and interaction against violence and conflict.

Not doing this for whatever reason, for example citing attacks by the organization [PKK] as a reason, raises the question of whether strong political wisdom and a determined state based on law exists in the country.

There are a lot of residual remains left over from the time of military tutelage.

Some images from recent days have been disturbing. For example the political activation of symbolic institutions like the MGK (National Security Council) that belong to a previous period, and the continued usage by politicians despite their claims of demilitarization -- to exaggerate their own power and place them at the center -- of the “Red Book,” which “defines situations that exceed politics.”

If the parallel structure (the term used to refer to the Fetullah Gülen-led movement) is a problem, and it is a big problem indeed; then this points to a situation that has to be tackled within the scope of existing laws and through administrative decisions of the Prime Ministry.

There is no sense in transferring the problem to a document such as the “Red Book.” Quite the opposite such an action is contradictory to legal reasoning.

Placing the focus of the entire country on a decision to be taken by a consultancy institution like the MGK concerning the Kurdish issue and foreign policy presents many risks in regard to the symbolic narrowing of political space.

If the political leadership is under the impression of “I am the state,” just like the claim leveled against it by its opponents, or a delirious state exists regarding “military-political power integration” then it needs to distance itself from such a situation immediately.

First and foremost, such a thing is not a reality and will never be one.






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