‘Turkey’s mil­i­tary prob­lem – Hey sol­dier, keep out of pol­i­tics!’

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - HARUN ODABAŞI Ed­i­tor, Za­man daily

‘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

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