Turkey’s military leadership held emergency talks on Tuesday, following a rash of arrests on Monday.
Retired commanders in the air force and navy, and the former deputy chief of the armed forces are among 49 people being detained and questioned. A television network in the country reported that 10 officers were brought to court in Istanbul. Authorities are investigating whether they had any part in planning an alleged coup in 2003.
Democratic reforms in the law have made it possible for the Islamic-rooted government to now go after one of its biggest opponents, the secularist armed forces.
Andrew Finkel, is a Turkish affairs expert who has lived in Istanbul for 21 years. He explained the government’s actions: “In the last few years the military have been very active in trying to weaken this present government. They’ve issued memoranda on the internet criticising the government, trying to organise popular resistance to the government. They clearly don’t like the government and this is the government fighting back. The government is saying ‘you violate the laws and you will pay the price!”
A statement on the armed forces website said the meeting was to ‘assess the serious situation which has arisen’. In attendance were the military leadership, including serving commanders of each branch of the services. The political unrest is having a wider effect on the economy. The Turkish stock market has fallen in recent days.