Another Failed Military Coup in Turkey

The change in the constitution paves the way for trial of army generals responsible for the 1980 coup, consequently sending a warning to those who may engage in future coups.

Turkey arrested and jailed Air Force Academy commander along with three other officers on the charge of overthrowing the government in which more than 200 officers are accused. Their detention shows long-tussle between the powerful secular army and a religiously conservative government, which some critics accuse of having a secret Islamic agenda.

After long questioning, an Istanbul court ordered Air Force Academy commander Major General Ismail Tas, two colonels and a lieutenant be sent to a military jail.

Earlier General Bilgin Balanli, commander of Turkey’s military academies, became the highest-ranking serving officer among those charged with involvement in the alleged conspiracy, dubbed Operation Sledgehammer.

Nearly 12 generals have now been detained over the plot, which purportedly included plans to bomb historic mosques in Istanbul and trigger disputes with Greece. Defendants say the documents presented by the prosecution were part of a war game scenario used in a military seminar and that other documents were faked.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has reined in the power of the military during its nine years in power under reforms inspired by a European Union accession process.

The Turkish military staged several attempts to stage mutiny against the government. These include three coups between 1960 and 1980 and in 1997 pressured out of office a government led by an Islamist party. The Turkish army was once considered untouchable in its role as custodian of Turkey’s secular state. Several high-ranking officers, including retired generals, are already being tried on the charges of belonging to a movement known as Ergenekon, which is said to have plotted a military coup by stoking civil unrest. Journalists, academics, lawyers and politicians are also accused of being part of Ergenekon, which the government has depicted as a cabal of secular elitists determined to maintain their privileges.

It is alleged that the Kemalist military has close links with Israeli army. The appointment of an Islamist as the new chief of Turkey’s intelligence services, Dr. Hakan Fidan has irked the Zionist regime. Ehud Barak has expressed his fears that Fidan could pass-on vital Turkey-Israel secrets to Tehran.

Erdogan’s government is against the promotions of the indicted officers but the final decision will be made by the military council. However, military council decision needs Turkish President’s consent. President Abdullah Gul has warned the Council that the promotion of officers under investigation would send a wrong message. According to Wayne Madsen, who is a Washington DC-based author, columnist, and self-described investigative journalist specialising in intelligence and international affairs, in his Wayne Madsen report mentioned that Israeli Mossad was squarely behind all the military coups in Turkey.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Erdogan mostly tilted towards Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Brazil, Lebanon and the Palestinians ‘has upset the US, Israel and the EU countries. Turkey along with Brazil voted against the UNSC’s fourth round of sanctions against Iran. Since then, the US and Israel have come to the conclusion that Turkey’s close relationship with Syria and Iran would certainly make it difficult for a future US-Israel attack on Iran.

Turkish army, naturally with green light from the US, has put the names of 11 generals and admirals involved in an early military coup against Turkish government for promotions. Despite warrants for the arrest of these high-ranking active-duty military officers’ they still walk free under military protection. They’re among the 102 retired and serving officers ordered jailed last month. The accused could be jailed for up to 20 years if convicted. Now, if promoted, they could be used by US and Israel to bring a regime change in Ankara before US-Israel attack on Iran. The new military regime certainly will be pro-Israel and anti-Iran.

About 50 years back, Turkey’s elected Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and his cabinet members were arrested by the military. Menderes was put on trial before a military court on charges of treason and subsequently hanged. Two decades later, Turkey once again witnessed a bloody period of political and social crisis, which had yet again been instigated by a military coup. This time around, the self-proclaimed guardian of self-styled secularism, the Turkish military, changed the constitution giving the generals a free hand in thwarting democracy at their whims. However, the progressive Justice and Development Party (AKP) vowed to change the status-quo when it was first elected in 2002.

After introducing a number of reforms which galvanised Turkey’s case for entry into EU, AKP sent shivers down the military’s spine when it held a referendum on the amendment of the much-despised 1982 constitution. In addition to ensuring a wide range of civil liberties, the change in the constitution paves the way for the trial of army generals responsible for the 1980 coup, consequently sending a warning to those who may engage in future coups.

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