Army to Lose its Role in The Political Life of Turkey


21 Aug 04

The importance of the Turkish army in the political life of the
country is out of doubt. Having assumed the role of a guarantee for
secular and republican order it also controls the legislative and
executive powers of the country. The National Security Council,
having more military than civil members, became the means of

In other words, the president, prime minister, deputy prime minister,
foreign and home ministers oppose the head of the supreme
headquarters, commanders of the land, marine and air forces. The first
deputy of the supreme headquarters is also the secretary general of
the National Security Council.

The National Security Council was the body that discussed and made
decisions on issues like Turkey and the EU, the Cyprus issue, the
Kurdish issue as well as the issues of Armenian-Turkish relations and
the Karabakh conflict.

Though the Turkish policy towards all these issues of national
importance remained unchanged with the Justice and Progress party
coming into power, the role of the National Security Council reduced
as another major power, the EU, with its demands emerged. The discord
between Erdogan’s government and the supreme headquarters grew worse.

Though the pressure from the EU didn’t result in the dissolving of the
Council, there were created preconditions for considering its
staff. As a result of this the number of civilians in the Council
multiplied, two more ministers were included and the military
secretary general was replaced by a diplomat.

The former Turkish ambassador to Greece Mehmed Yighit Alpogan became
the new secretary general. On its August 19 publication the Turkish
Vakit writes that the president Ahmed Naced Sezer confirmed his

This refill of the National Security Council with civil members
supposes weakening of military forces in its structure. We can
conclude that the supervision over the legislative and executive
powers will reduce, as the National Security Council was the main body
of control for the army. Now Erdogan will have more freedom to act
apart from the army. The initiative in national issues will pass to
executive power now, which will not have the backing of the army any

By Hakob Chakrian