Turkey’s agenda is currently dominated by the resignation of its four top military leaders. Four new generals have now been selected to replace them.
To analyse the shake-up, euronews spoke to Atilla Sandikli in Istanbul, an academic who has a military background himself.
Nezahat Sevim, euronews: “In its 88 year history as a republic, Turkey has experienced a coup d’etat three times. However, nearly 10 percent of those in the military are currently under arrest and on trial. In these circumstances, do you think this series of resignations is a sign of war between the military and the government or is it part of a normalisation process between the two?”
Atilla Sandikli: “I think recent events are part of a normalisation, especially during the European Union membership process. Turkey’s democratic system has been improving more and more. Normally, Turkey is used to a government being controlled by the military but now, like modern countries, we are making progress towards having an army that accepts government’s superiority and an army that lets the government take the lead.”
euronews: “If it had happened before (these resignations), there would have been a big reaction from the Turkish people or a big fall in the Turkish markets or maybe greater concern from the international community. But today the atmosphere is calmer. Why is that?”
Atilla Sandikli:“The calmer atmosphere is a sign of how far Turkey’s democracy has progressed. People disliked the pressure the army put on the authorities. Because the nation was expecting and ready for some changes, there is no crisis now.”
euronews: “What will be the vision of the new leadership of the Turkish army? How much will they intervene in politics or won’t they get involved at all?”
Atilla Sandikli: “From now on, the leadership of the military will accept the superiority of the government and they will work in harmony with it. The military leadership did not used to be like this and that was one of the main criticisms in the progress report on Turkey by the European Union.”
euronews: “There are some concerns that the army is losing its independence? What do you think about this?”
Atilla Sandikli: “Looking at today’s leadership appointments, it is clear that The Supreme Military Council has acted in keeping with the law. For the highest positions, it chose people who can work in harmony with the government. But for the lower positions, it did not intervene at all. So, bearing this in mind, there is no sign that the government has shaped the army for its own self-interest or infringed its autonomy.”