The unsuccessful coup attempt which happened in 15 July 2016 is being used as an excuse for a big purge in the Turkish Military. After July 15th, 6 thousand 511 military personnel received a dishonorable discharge. What does it mean to have such a big purge, despite the fact that the army officers who actually had participated in the coup attempt were very few? The people who were discharged are not only army officers. 4 thousand 90 military high school students, 6 thousand 100 sergeant academy students, 6 thousand 179 War Academy students were also received a dishonorable discharge from the army.
The source of the numbers of the discharges is Fikri Işık, former Minister of Defense. The final official report was revealed by the Minister Fikri Işık after an inquiry was forwarded to the Turkish Parliament.
In this case, there are two questions which require answers:
1- Who decides these huge purges in the Turkish Military, and on what measures are the people being ostracized from profession?
2- Who are being appointed to the positions of these officers who are being discharged, and what are the criteria for the new staff?
There are some confusing situations for the answer of the first question. Doğu Perinçek, the leader of the Vatan Partisi (Patriotic Party) who doesn’t have any public support, clearly states that they had prepared the purging lists of the Turkish Military officers and forwarded this black list to Erdoğan’s government. So who is Dogu Perinçek? A NATO opposer who backs up his speeches with anti-American and anti-Western statements. It is quite obvious that he has a ultra-nationalist profile.
Both Perinçek’s past activities and current stance make him more suspicious. According to Perinçek, Turkey must leave the orbit of NATO, and must save itself from American imperialism. So where does Turkey stand according to Perinçek?
According to him, Turkey’s address must be a new geopolitical field within the triangle of Russia-Iran-China. Perinçek also claims that July 15th coup was conspired by NATO and backed by U.S Government. He evaluates the purges in the Turkish Military as a departure from NATO, and redirecting the routes to Eurasia. To put it plainly, the clues of the purges in the Turkish army extremely coincides with this claim.
The readers of this article might wonder about this question: What kind of a connection is there between Erdogan, who is known for his Islamist discourses, and Perinçek, who was a Maoist in the past, radical secularist and ultra-racist today, so the two manage to take common actions?
During the big corruption case back in 2013, since Erdogan’s name was mentioned together with his relatives and ministers, he made an alliance with the people he called enemies in the past with an opportunist approach.
In order for Erdogan to avoid the charge of corruption, he needed to escape from the norms of the universal law. That escape route ended up moving away from NATO and eventually facing Russia-China-Iran circle inevitably. Erdogan started taking steps according to this route. Initially, buying S-400 air defense systems and then fighting with the NATO are the results of the route Erdogan is trying to draw to save himself.
Now it is worth reminding the critical question. Who are being appointed to the positions which were opened after the discharge of tens of thousands of military officers and military high school students?
It appears that the people who want to join the Turkish army must provide reference from the organizations of AKP (Justice and Development Party). The people, who cannot provide reference from the party, cannot find place for themselves in the Turkish army if the opinions are not deemed close to Erdoğan by the MiT (National Intelligence Organization). Under such circumstances, the Turkish army will not reflect the colorful political diversities of the Turkish people anymore.
The future army officer profile will be determined by AKP’s political design. The general approach of the party is clear: Very tough towards the moderate Muslims, very sympathetic to the radical groups. It is among the widely known how Erdogan and his party lean towards the armed terror organizations such as Al-Nusra, how they allowed ISIL to pass through the Syrian and Iraqi borders easily, and provided aid for the wounded ISIL militants in Turkey.
After Turkey’s weapon shipment to the groups in Syria clearly revealed, the prosecutors and the police officers were sent to prison. Erdogan clearly stated on live television that he is going to punish the administration of Cumhuriyet newspaper who had made news about the weapon filled trucks of MİT. Because the justice system took action after this statement, Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, was sent to prison and then he was forced to live abroad. Enis Berberoglu, deputy from CHP (Republican People’s Party) whose name was mentioned about the MİT trucks, received prison sentences.
There wasn’t any investigation opened for the people who actually carried out the weapon shipment. First, Erdogan denied the existence of such weapons, and argued that the trucks had medical products which were being sent to Turkmen groups. After the footage in the truck published, it was claimed that it was a Government secret, and the exposers were deemed traitors. The party alignments ignored these conflicting statements, and counted the lies as the truths, because they had seen the struggle of the armed groups reasonable.
Henceforward, Erdogan is not only a problem of Turkey, but a problem of the whole world (especially the western world). The Western countries that followed the purges all silently until today will be forced to work with the army officers who were gathered from a single party alignment and will clearly against the Western values.
There is a striking example right in front of us: A police officer, who is known to support the radical groups and had attended the religious sermons of and gotten inspired from Imam Nurettin Yıldız, carried out a terrible action. Andrei Karlov, Russia’s Ankara ambassador, was killed by the radicalized police officer while he was making a speech in an opening ceremony. Although the government tried to blame somebody else for the crime, the truth was lying right there: Tens of thousands of people had been discharged from the constabulary, and the opening positions were filled with the party officers from the party alignment. The killer was a typical example of the newly appointed police staff. He had killed the Russia ambassador, to whom he had been appointed to keep safe, with the gun he was given by the Government and made religious speeches afterwards. This killer should have been captured alive, and the perpetrators should have been revealed. Unfortunately, this assailant police officer was captured dead after a very amateur operation. The government tried to change the subject of the news at first, and then blamed some other people who were not even related with the incident, and then closed the case quietly.
There is a very difficult process ahead of both NATO and Turkey. Once the fruits of the change which was seeded today are ready, both Turkey’s and NATO’s orbit will be changed. NATO will be forced to work with the radicalized, anti-western army officers who were shaped by AKP. Therefore, there will be huge problems about the strategies and intelligence sharing issues. The truth is that it has already been questioned whether Turkey is a trusted partner of NATO or not. Thus, it is safe to analyze that huge problems wait ahead for NATO and Turkey in the near future.
Despite all of these troubles, I would like to state that Turkey continues the desire of a libertarian democratic constitutional state by protecting its own cultural identity. This social desire cannot be sacrificed for the sake of one man’s adventures towards hiding his own shames, and Turkey cannot sacrifice its own democratic presence to the adventurist politicians by changing its face somewhere else other than West.