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Putschism Brings Down The Army


On the night of July 15, Turkey faced a new coup attempt. The attempt carried out by members of the Gulenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) who had penetrated the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), was repelled by President Erdogan's successful leadership and thanks to public resistance.

Putschism Brings Down The Army

On the night of July 15, Turkey faced a new coup attempt. The attempt carried out by members of the Gulenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) who had penetrated the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), was repelled by President Erdogan's successful leadership and thanks to public resistance. The coup attempt, however, has caused damages to the economy, politics and social life. Without a doubt, the institution that received the most extensive damage is the army itself. When you look at the history of coups in Turkey, you can clearly see that the TSK has suffered major damage from the impact of coups, and in fact putschism in the end brings down the army.

To understand the July 15 coup attempt, for which the TSK cannot be held fully responsible, and examine its effects on the army one must first delve into the historical heritage of the Turkish army. The first point that needs to be raised is the unity of the army and the state - the expression "army-people" is based on this identification. The second, is the widespread belief that the military is the engine of modernization. The third is the constant interventions of military in politics since the late Ottoman period.

Military coups or coup attempts are practiced by the army to scare their own people, put fear in their hearts, or to try to discipline them. Regarding the Ottoman army, which at some point in history reached as far as Vienna, historian Bernard Lewis comments: "By the end of the 18th century, the Ottoman army, which once terrified Europe, could not scare anyone else from its own leaders or civilians." Because of the pressure of the Janissaries, many sultans were dethroned, many viziers and grand viziers were beheaded. The army, which could not scare anyone other than its own people or leaders, attempted to redesign politics and society in the Republican era, and has committed murders in this cause.

The Aim Is to Spread Fear Among the Public

In the military coup examples during the Republican era, the military intervened in politics and social life to try to shape and intimidate the populace. The 1960 coup, the 1971 military memorandum, the 1980 coup, the 1997 post-modern coup, and the 2007 e-memorandum left behind terrible legacies for democracy in this context. Also there are many failed coup attempts, such as Talat Aydemir's 1962 and 1963 coup attempts (after the second attempt Aydemir was executed by Ismet Pasha). These moves that cripple social life and politics, threaten political discourse and the establishment and development of democracy sometimes come from within the army, other times from military retirees and civilian representatives, and most of the time come from the "true believer" junta which has leaked into the military such as FETÖ.

May 27 as the Initiator of the Coup Tradition

The coup attempt initiated by FETÖ on the night of July 15, is actually the last episode of a long series of coups. This attempt is similar to the 1960 coup regarding the coup plotters’ organization and the claim that they represents the whole military. The total damage the 1960 coup caused the country is quite severe. This was the first military coup that took place in the history of Turkish Republic and the initiator of the coup tradition. During the coup carried out by 37 low-ranking military officers on 27 May 1960, the president and members of the government were arrested, 235 generals and about 3,500 officers (mostly colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors) were forced to retire, 1,402 academicians were deposed, some universities were closed, and 520 judges were removed from their offices.The most painful turn of events was the execution of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and two of his ministers. The then-Commander of Turkish Armed Forces Rustu Erdelhun was assaulted by putschist young officers while the hero of the War of Independence, Ali Fuat Pasha and Korean War veteran Tahsin Yazici and former Commander Mehmet Nuri Yamut were arrested and imprisoned.

Similar practices were also seen in coup attempts led by Colonel Talat Aydemir, during the 1980 coup, and during the 1997 military memorandum. Colonel Talat Aydemir, who attempted a coup twice, and Major Fethi Gürcan were executed by Ismet Inonu in 1964. In addition, 200 officers were expelled from the army along with 1,459 military high school cadets.

 Coups Neutralize the Military

After the 1980 coup, a total of 1,020 soldiers including 397 officers, 176 sergeants, and 447 cadets were dismissed. But the total damage of the1980 coup is not limited there. After the coup, 1,683,000 people were blacklisted, 230,000 people were tried by the State Security Courts, and 517 people were sentenced to death. Also 71,000 people were prosecuted under Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code; 14,000 people were stripped of their citizenship; and 30,000 sought refuge abroad as political refugees. In addition, 3,854 teachers, 120 faculty members and 47 judges were dismissed. During the February 28 post-modern coup process, over 900 soldiers were drummed out of the army on grounds of indiscipline or reactionism. The witch hunt was initiated against religiously observant soldiers, and especially those whose wives wore headscarves. Still, the army suffered the greatest damage in this process. The coups not only controlled the nation's will but neutralized, disgraced, and pacified the military. During the July 15 coup attempt, the fact that the coup plotters’ first move was to capture the Chief of Defence and high-ranking generals shows the damage the army caused itself. Undoubtedly, although the military will be wholly damaged in this process, the coup attempt exposed those placed in army by FETÖ – and this is a huge win. The extensive and nationwide liquidation of a terrorist organization, which moves according to the global power centers and directed bullets on its own people on the night of July 15, eventually killing 246 of them, is a necessity. The army is meaningful as long as it integrates with the nation and is at the nation's disposal. What needs to be done now is to try all the elements involved in the coup, civilian or soldier, before the law and before history. After the 1980 coup, a total of 1,020 soldiers including 397 officers, 176 sergeants, and 447 cadets were dismissed. But the total damage of the1980 coup is not limited there. After the coup, 1,683,000 people were blacklisted, 230,000 people were tried by the State Security Courts, and 517 people were sentenced to death. Also 71,000 people were prosecuted under Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code; 14,000 people were stripped of their citizenship; and 30,000 sought refuge abroad as political refugees. In addition, 3,854 teachers, 120 faculty members and 47 judges were dismissed. During the February 28 post-modern coup process, over 900 soldiers were drummed out of the army on grounds of indiscipline or reactionism. The witch hunt was initiated against religiously observant soldiers, and especially those whose wives wore headscarves. Still, the army suffered the greatest damage in this process. The coups not only controlled the nation's will but neutralized, disgraced, and pacified the military. During the July 15 coup attempt, the fact that the coup plotters’ first move was to capture the Chief of Defence and high-ranking generals shows the damage the army caused itself. Undoubtedly, although the military will be wholly damaged in this process, the coup attempt exposed those placed in army by FETÖ – and this is a huge win. The extensive and nationwide liquidation of a terrorist organization, which moves according to the global power centers and directed bullets on its own people on the night of July 15, eventually killing 246 of them, is a necessity. The army is meaningful as long as it integrates with the nation and is at the nation's disposal. What needs to be done now is to try all the elements involved in the coup, civilian or soldier, before the law and before history.


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