Turkish Military Defies Civilian Rule
On July 24, an Istanbul Court ordered the arrest of 102 current and former high ranking Turkish military officers. The military responded by shielding the officers in locations that made arrests difficult, if not impossible. This provoked the current conflict between Turkey's constitutionally independent judiciary and the military. (Image)
The officers charged were allegedly part of Sledgehammer, the latest plan in a series of military plots and coups by the Turkish high command. The military and its allies were to blow up mosques, churches, and synagogues; then blame these acts on terrorists, Kurdish separatists, for example. In addition, the military planned to provoke the shoot down a Turkish aircraft by the Greek military and down a civilian airliner blaming it on terrorists.
In the midst of the chaos, the military planned to assume total control of the government, chase off the ruling AK Party, and end democracy in Turkey. The Turkish Constitution gives the military the option to step in to restore order if the civilian government fails in this regard. The elaborate Sledgehammer false flag operation was designed to make the ruling AK Party government look "weak" and promote public acceptance for military rule. The full plot was to be hatched in 2003, shortly after the refusal of the Turkish parliament to provide a launching area for the United States invasion of Iraq.
The conflict in Turkey is not between the military, supposed guardians of secular democracy, and the government of the AK Party. It is a conflict between the Turkish people and their independent judiciary versus what is widely regarded as the Turkish deep state. The secret arm of the Turkish state was acknowledged by various factions in Turkey. It consists of elements of the military, media, civil government that conduct terror in behalf of their vision of the Turkish state. Over 14,000 individual were murdered through 1998 by deep state operations.
In addition to Sledgehammer prosecutions, there are over 150 senior military officials and civilians under indictment for the Ergenekon coup plot dating back to 1980. Operation Cage was exposed after Sledgehammer. Hatched in 2009 by the military, this plot involved attacks on citizens by the military posing as Kurdish or other "radical" elements. The main goal of "Cage" was outlined in the planning document:
"To increase pressure by both local and foreign communities on AKP Government, to keep the public opinion pre-occupied and change the agenda, particularly Ergenekon Case." Operation Cage Action Plan
There are three elements of this crisis that are coming to a head right now.
The military is preventing arrests by allowing the accused Sledgehammer plotters refuge on military bases where they are shielded from arrest. This defies the civil authority represented by Turkish prosecutors and courts.
The military is proposing to promote officers, many of whom are among the 102 subject to arrest, in defiance of tradition and law preventing promotions of those accused of committing crimes against the state. Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan is refusing to ratify the promotions if made.
Finally, on September 12, the nation will vote on a constitutional amendment that will strip the military of their previously granted right to intervene with coups when, in their opinion, the state is threatened.
The outcome of this most recent crisis will determine the direction that Turkey takes in the quest for full democracy absent the shadow of the military deep state.
The virtual silence of Western governments and media regarding the crisis in democracy in Turkey betrays a casual indifference, perhaps even endorsement, of the various crimes planned for and inflicted upon the Turkish people.
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Daily updates and analysis: Today's Zaman (Turkish English language daily, Istanbul)
On the "deep state":
Turkey’s “Deep-State” and the Ergenekon Conundrum, H. Akin Ünver, Middle East Institute, April 2009 and NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and terrorism in Western Europe, Chapter 17, the Secrete War in Turkey Daniele Ganser, 2005
Chronology of a crisis from Today's Zaman, Istanbul:
July 24: Court orders arrest of 102 Sledgehammer officers
July 26 Arrest warrant deals fatal blow to promotion dreams of coup generals
July 28: Sledgehammer suspects hope to escape arrest until YAŞ (Supreme Military Council) meeting
July 29: Former PKK leader: Öcalan controls PKK, deep state controls Öcalan
July 30: General Staff committing crime by sheltering fugitive coup suspects
July 31: PM Erdoğan asks Başbuğ not to propose coup generals’ promotion
Aug 1: Gülen endorses reform package, appealing for ‘yes' on Sept. 12
Aug 3: Promotion quagmire persists
Aug 4: Gen. Iğsız given three days to testify in propaganda website probe
Aug 5: Turkey's churches, synagogues marked in red in Sledgehammer plan
Aug. 5: [Turkish] PM Erdoğan stands firm against illegal promotions during YAŞ (Supreme Military Council) meeting