Yet another Turkish political bump
The Chief of Staff and commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force resigned (asked to be retired) this evening before the annual High Military Tribunal. The likely reason for the resignation is disagreement over the fate of 145 military personnel, including 40 generals, under arrest, awaiting trial, for having attempted a coup. The generals could also be disgruntled about the pro-AKP media’s continuous attacks over the death of 13 soldiers in a PKK (separatist Kurdish terrorists) ambush or the Interior Ministry attempts at creating separate security forces for battling the PKK.
An economist friend told me the benchmark hit 9 percent over the news in OTC, so let me say upfront: The event will not have any lasting influence in markets. Commander of the Gendarme, who chose not to join the resignation party, was just promoted to the position of commander of Army by President Gul (so that he could be made Chief of Staff, a technical formality), and he will be standing in for the Chief of Staff at the High Military Tribunal meeting.
Turkish army undertakes coups only when there is support from the opposition and public. With the main opposition parties against such a coup and the AKP enjoying popular support, there is no chance of a coup, just like it is preposterous to think that the Armed Forces were plotting for one- this would mean that the few hundred people are in jail for cooked-up charges, but so is a football club president and a manager, what is the big deal?:( For the exact same reason, while the main opposition CHP accused the AKP of molding the army at its will, and while the Army is still the most trusted institution in the country, popular unrest is not likely, either.
IMHO, these are all signs that the country is getting further away from the democracy tram, but in terms of markets, there is nothing to worry about once the initial shock-selling is over…
2 Responses to “Yet another Turkish political bump”
With all due respect, I don't think it's "preposterous" to think that some generals in the Army might have been plotting a coup back in 2002-2004, although I do agree that part of the evidence in the ongoing Sledgehammer case to that effect seems to be forged, as documented by Cetin Dogan's daughter and son-in-law. One piece of evidence suggesting a possible coup attempt in 2003-2004, for example, that hasn't been shown to be a forgery, to the best of my knowledge, is Ozden Ornek's diaries.
You also seem to have forgotten the "e-muhtira" incident in 2007. Is a country where the generals can openly threaten a democratically elected government because they don't like the government's choice for the presidency really a "democratic" country? Do you really think such a country (or a country where the Constitutional Court was almost shutting down a party that received nearly half of the popular vote) is more democratic than the country today that you say "the country is getting further away from the democracy tram"?
OK, let's not say “getting further away from the democracy tram”, but the tram has definitely come to a halt of late.The problem is that 2 wrongs don't make one right: Just as there has been match-fixing in Turkey forever, there have always generals “wishing” a coup, but fabricating evidence or going out of regular army procedures (or regular legal procedures by asking for military personnel who have not been indicted yet to be “retired”) is not the way to go about correcting problems.In many ways, Turkey is more democratic than it was at the time of the “e-muhtira”, but in many ways, it is also resembling an Orwellian police state.As for the Constitutional Court, or courts in general: It seems that a biased and ideological judicial system has given way to en equally biased one supporting a different ideology. I am not sure if which court less democratic: the one trying to shut the AKP down or the ones keeping dozens and journalists in prison, while at the same time feeding embedded journalists with sham evidence on match-fixing or Sledgehammer.All in all, IMHO the AKP had a great opportunity to make Turkey a truly democratic country back in 2007. 4 years on, if we are not any worse, I am sure we are not any better, either. That's such a pity… Sent by BlackBerry Internet Service from Turkcell