‘Turkey’s military problem – Hey soldier, keep out of politics!’
‘Turkey’s Military Problem’ is a sort of review of the period spanning 1960 to the Ergenekon case, the latter representing a landmark in military accountability. The book expresses opposition not to the military’s ideological stance but to its identity as a party that tries to design politics. There are two key concepts Cemal stresses from the preface to the last sentence of the book: a military problem and a civilian problem. Turkey has one, because it has the second Hasan Cemal is the grandson of Cemal Pasha, a soldier and leading member of the Committee of Union and Progress that dethroned the last of the Ottoman Emperors, Abdülhamid II. A journalist for 42 years, he was a strong supporter of the coup of May 27, 1960 – one which resulted in the execution of a prime minister and two state ministers – shedding tears of joy when it occurred. A young leftist with radical ideas, he studied at the Faculty of Political Science of Ankara University. He was a true supporter of the military-civilian March 9 junta behind the March 12, 1971, coup. He registered objection to the 1980 coup, not for democratic reasons but out of concern that leftists might be harmed by it. By the Feb. 28, 1997, post-modern coup Cemal’s thoughts had started to change, but he didn’t criticize the military’s Feb. 28 memorandum because he was against the Necmettin Erbakan-led Welfare Party (RP). But in 2007 he stood courageously against the April 27 “e-memorandum,” considered another attempt by the military to interfere in politics, at a time when even the most conservative of writers were deviating from their views. His courage and outrage on television was truly worth seeing. He did not succumb to pressure from his family, friends or colleagues on the issue.
Cemal’s book, “Türkiye’nin Asker Sorunu” (Turkey’s Military Problem) is a sort of review of the period spanning 1960 to the Ergenekon case, the latter representing a landmark in military accountability. In his book, Cemal doesn’t just give information about events, he also includes details of one-on-one interviews with former President Süleyman Demirel, former Democrat Party (DP) leader Hüsamettin Cindoruk, former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz, former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as many other bureaucrats and politicians, together with behind-the-scenes parliamentary rumors.
The subtitle Cemal assigns to his book, “Hey soldier, keep out of politics!” reveals the essence of his stance on the issue. It expresses opposition not to the military’s ideological stance but to its identity as a party that tries to design politics. There are two key concepts Cemal stresses from the preface to the last sentence of the book: a military problem and a civilian problem. Turkey has a military problem because it has a civilian problem. Turkey has a civilian problem because it has a military problem. Both these propositions are correct because both are elements that cause, amplify and nourish each other. Cemal explains the civilian-military