The scale of the military arrests in Turkey is unprecedented in modern times, not only in the number of those who were detained but also the seniority of their ranks.
There are commentators who have been watching Turkish affairs for many years who say that even last year, such was the power of the military, it would have been impossible.
Andrew Finkel has been writing about Turkish affairs ever since he moved to live in Istanbul 21 years ago.
Mr Finkel, is this all part of the ongoing struggle between the AK party and the secularists, or is there something wider to this?
If you were to ask the public prosecutor, he would say this is a legitimate case. A huge number of documents have been presented to the courts. These documents suggest that senior people within the military were involved at the planning stages at least of a fairly horrendous coup d’etat against the elected government.
And of course the governing party has to do something about this alleged plot in order to advance its application to join the EU.
Certainly one of the hindrances of Turkey’s application, and there are many hindrances, but one of them is the fact that the military has always enjoyed a privileged position in Turkish political life. The military were the ‘control of last resort.’ These arrests are a fairly dramatic indication that this may no longer be the case.
Is it a move to emasculate the Turkish military, domestically, at least? There have been four coups d’etat since 1960. Is this an attempt to clip their wings do you think?
Well that is certainly the case. It is not just the four military coups in recent Turkish history but in the last few years the military have been very active in trying to weaken this present government. They have issued memoranda, on the internet even, criticising the government, trying to organise popular resistance to the goverment. They clearly do not like the government and this is the government fighting back. The government is saying: ‘You violate the laws and you will pay the price!’
What is unusual is not that the military perhaps is planning a military coup in Turkey but that they are actually being prosecuted for it.