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The dark side of the Turkish army
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-02-27 09:42:14
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The latest economic problems of the European Union’s Mediterranean members have overwhelmed us so much so we have nearly missed what is going on with a Mediterranean candidate country and what is going on with Turkey this moment might not focus on economics but is probably the worst crisis the country has gone through the last decades and the same time a sign of how far is Turkey with anything EU has to do with as a principal.

Can you imagine any European state; let’s say Belgium or why not Britain arresting army officers, actually a big number of army officers for conspiring against the government and organizing a coup adjoined with provocations that included assassinations and terrorist attacks? I think one Spanish officer tried to do something back in 80s and his act will go down in history as the act of a clown and it was the act of a single man. In Turkey from the other side it looks like there is war between the government and the army at the moment and we must never forget the critical role of the Turkish army all through the history of the modern Turkish state.

The Turkish army represents in the Turkish state the stability, the guard and the guaranty for a secular state, the last barrier against political corruption that has strangulate the country the last century. But like every coin this has two sides and the other side is very dark and very different. The Turkish army is the most corrupted institution of the Turkish state. Corrupted of the unlimited power they practice for decades, one of the most imperialists armies in the world dreaming constantly of the greater Turkey that will have the size of the old Ottoman Empire. The Turkish army is deep inside financial scandals that include weapons trading to drugs control and money laundry. Is the barrier to the Turkey of the future and oddly the one who came to clean the situation is exactly the worst nightmare of the other side of the coin. An Islamic government.

The Turkish nation is in front of a very difficult crossroads that will determine its survival in the 21st century. Crossroads and decisions that have postpone constantly the last three decades and if they will continue doing so they will find out that solutions will be forced on them. For example the Kurdish problem that has already taken gigantic dimensions and that‘s due to nationalistic reaction of the Turkish army to their rightful demand of the Kurdish minority. However the Kurds are not a quiet minority any more in the region especially after the role they played in the expulsion of Saddam and the change in Iraq. Now there is a land the Kurdish people can look for and a union between the Kurds of Turkey, Iraq and Iran can make truth the worst nightmare of the Turks and the Iranians, especially because a new Kurdish state will have the financial funding due to the oil fields.

And of course when we are talking about a Kurdish minority in Turkey we must never forget that we are talking about millions of Turkish citizens and not only the ones who openly support the idea of an independent Kurdish state but the more dangerous quiet majority who can be critical in a case of a referendum for example especially after decades of oppression and victimization that periods became a pogrom in the limits of genocide. And if this starts then the trichotomy of the Turkish state as we know it, it will be inevitable. The plans and the talk there is always in full act in some places, meeting rooms and critical institutions and their best ally the last decades has been the Turkish army and all it represents especially its dark side.

Then there is the Cyprus issue. Perhaps when it started the Turkish government then had the best intentions scared for the Turkish minority on the island nation, a minority depressed of the limited rights they had and they danger of an extreme right movement motivated from the Greek dictatorship organizing coups against the rightful leader of the country. Perhaps the intensions were right but as usual the worst results have come from the best intentions and what counts is the result. The result in the Cyprus issue is a barbaric army invasion, the support of the most extreme even terrorist elements of the Turkish minority in Cyprus and the occupation which again brought the minority in a very difficult situation creating a hate between the two communities especially after loading thousands of settlers in the occupied part of the island. The Turkish army again acted as an occupation army instead of a liberator as they would like to be especially against their own compatriots. Supporting the most extreme elements of the society and bringing thousands of settlers to change the local demographics and win more support to their aims they managed to create a new quiet minority that wishes to see them out of the island more strongly than the Greeks. The responsibility of the Cyprus failure for the Turkish state is lying totally in the shoulders of the Turkish army.

And these are only two examples of the catastrophic role the Turkish army has played in the modern Turkish state the last decades and the reasoning on why they should kept away from any decision making of the country. Their involvement in inside financial scandals, weapons trading, drugs control and money laundry is huge and demands justice. Oddly the only one who can actually bring some cleaning in this mess is Recep Erdogan and the use of the conspiracy accusations against the state is perhaps the best chance Turkey has to move to the 20th century. For the 21st we still have long way!

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