As we feared in our editorial on Monday the accusations from the prosecutor that the Land Forces commander tried to influence the judicial process by making statements on behalf of a defendant have been blown out of proportion that could well turn into a full-blown domestic crisis….
The background to this situation is explained here:
The reasons for the tension between the government and the military, which are now rising over Gen. Buyukanit, are briefly as follows:
Erdogan’s presidential bid: Some circles claim that the AK Party leader wants to become president through majority support in Parliament in 2007. But people close to the AK Party indicate that Gen. Buyukanit, who is set to become chief of General Staff this August, is the biggest obstacle to Erdogan’s presidential aspirations. That’s the reason for rumors about Gen. Buyukanit sparked before he became Land Forces Commander and that some circles argued that the AK Party didn’t want to see Buyukanit helm the land forces
Uneasy AK Party members: The AK Party deputies see the presence of Buyukanit — who often inveighs against fundamentalist movements, uses Kemalist undertones in his statements, makes statements contradicting the AK Party’s policies on many issues ranging from Cyprus to northern Iraq, and terrorism to religious vocational Imam Hatip high schools — as a direct threat to their rule. Some AK Party deputies don’t want Buyukanit to assume the post to show the AK Party’s power to everyone. It’s striking that some AK Party deputies say, “He did what we couldn’t do,” referring to the prosecutor that prepared the indictment.
Now from the standpoint of my sparse knowledge of Turkish politics it is hard to tell just what sort of a ‘troglodyte’ General Buyukanit actually is, or indeed whether or not he is a troglodyte at all. One thing however is clear: the balance between military and political institutions in Turkey is far from ‘normalised’ and a right royal battle seems to be going on.
On another front, this article by Ayhan Simsek draws attention to the extent to which developments in Iraq may cast a long and important shadow over Turkey’s EU accession aspirations.