How Turkey's military upheaval will affect NATO
The resignations of Turkey's top military brass, along with the detention of scores of officers, have sparked fears that the capability of NATO’s second-largest army is being eroded.
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Media critical of the government have raised doubts about the experience of the man slated to replace Kosaner, Gen. Necdet Ozel. Formerly head of the military police, he was promoted to acting chief of general staff hours after the resignations.Skip to next paragraph
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Such media outlets point out that he has had no experience serving in NATO structures, nor has he received training in the United States.
Meanwhile, the resignations and imprisonments mean that there are now no eligible generals with the four-star ranking required to assume the role of head of the Air Force, and only a single three-star Air Force general.
Mr. Jenkins fears further resignations could mean inexperienced soldiers may be catapulted several ranks into top positions.
Many others have argued, however, that the resignations are unlikely to precipitate any kind of crisis.
“They are going to restructure the military and make it more suitable for a trading state, rather than for a national security state, which Turkey was in the past,” says Soli Ozel, a political scientist at Istanbul’s Bilgi University.
“I've seen no indication in any of this that the [military] relationship has been affected by this at all,” he said, according to Reuters.
A military defanged
Most analysts welcomed the resignations as a clear sign that Turkey’s once-meddlesome military has finally been subordinated to civilian control.
Traditionally, confrontations between Turkey’s military and political leaderships have resulted in the resignation – and sometimes even execution – of the politicians.
When the Islam-inspired Justice and Development Party (AKP) won power in November 2002, it was as an underdog to a hostile and powerful armed forces that viewed itself as the guardian of secular political system forged by Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
After the stark reversal of roles showed by Friday’s resignations, the dismissive reactions of leading politicians seemed to affirm that an army that has carried out three brutal coups since 1960s has now been finally defanged.
“No one should see this as a crisis in Turkey,” President Abdullah Gül told reporters on Saturday. “The developments were extraordinary within their scope, but as you see, everything is continuing as normal.”