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Cadres decide everything – Turkey’s reform of its military. OSW Commentary NUMBER 274 | 26.06.2018

Chudziak, Mateusz (2018) Cadres decide everything – Turkey’s reform of its military. OSW Commentary NUMBER 274 | 26.06.2018. [Policy Paper]

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    Over the last two years, the Turkish Armed Forces (Türk Silahlı Kuvvetlerı – TSK) have been subject to transformations with no precedent in the history of Turkey as a republic. The process of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) subordinating the army to civilian government has accelerated following the failed coup that took place on 15 July 2016. The government has managed to take away the autonomy of the armed forces which, while retaining their enormous significance within the state apparatus, ceased to be the main element consolidating the old Kemalist elites. However, the unprecedented scale of the purges and the introduction of formal civilian control of the military are merely a prelude to a much more profound change intended to create a brand new military, one that would serve the authorities and be composed of a new type of personnel – individuals from outside the army’s traditional power base. This reflects the reshuffle of the elites that happened during AKP’s rule. However, due to the fact that the TSK are a highly complex structure and the political situation both in Turkey itself and in its neighbourhood is tense, the military needs to retain its significance within the state system. Military actions are being carried out in northern Syria and in the south-eastern part of Turkey. In a situation of profound distrust between the political leadership and the military, the government is trying to impact the internal divisions within the TSK by favouring anti-Western, pro-Russian and nationalist groups. At the same time, it is consolidating the interior ministry’s structures, which could potentially defend it against another possible coup. It is also forming voluntary structures subordinated to it. This means that the process of the armed forces’ reconstruction and redefinition of their role in the system, alongside the ultimate creation of a new army, are markedly elevating the potential for internal conflicts and translating into a weakening of Turkey’s institutional ties with the West by gradually weakening its involvement in NATO. The planned purchase of S-400 systems from Russia, which the government intends to use to defend itself against its own army, is another manifestation of this trend.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Turkey
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2018 09:38
    Number of Pages: 8
    Last Modified: 03 Aug 2018 09:38

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