Strong army, strong Turkey?
“Every Turk is born a soldier,” as the expression has it. This remains largely true for Turkish men -- occasional exceptions aside -- as Turkey enforces national service. But while enthusiasm for and support of the military is still high in Turkey, the army’s influence on the mechanisms of civilian rule has weakened considerably in recent years. Indeed, not coincidentally perhaps, the army abandoned its “Strong army, strong Turkey” motto in 2012, as its political clout reached an all-time low.
Nonetheless, Turkey’s army is NATO’s second largest in terms of manpower and, in a country where a majority of former presidents were themselves senior military men (albeit in some cases taking the presidential seat as the consequence of a coup), the army continues to be an iconic presence and -- literally -- a force to be reckoned with. The final issue of Volume 4 of Turkish Review takes a look at Turkey’s military.
Dr. Chris Kilford (Centre for International and Defence Policy, Queen’s University, Ontario) examines the army’s Civic Training for Mehmetçik program, which aspires to teach Turkey’s soldiers about topics including legal empowerment, women’s rights and environmental protection.
As diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel may have frozen over in recent years, military relations and security cooperation between the two countries have also deteriorated. Eyal Berelovich (Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) suggests that the Turkish government’s wish to become self-sufficient was what ultimately led to the end of the two countries’ defense-industry cooperation.
This issue, Yonca Poyraz Doğan speaks to Lale Kemal, defense expert and journalist, and Prof. Ümit Cizre of İstanbul Şehir University’s Department of Political Science and International Relations, about the reform of Turkey’s military. Meanwhile Last Word is with Sezin Öney, academic and journalist, who offers her views on Turkey’s defense structure.
Aug. 1, 2014 saw the most far-reaching international treaty to fight violence against women to date come into effect. Vol-4/6 includes a report from journalist Nicole Pope on the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the İstanbul Convention, and Turkey’s likely performance under its “four Ps”: prevention, protection, prosecution and comprehensive policies.
And lastly, as 2014 comes to a close, Reviews and Briefs this issue includes a wide selection of books, as well as a round-up of conferences from the past year.