Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blasted individuals who delivered statements against the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and accused it of “inactivity” against the government, stating that some groups who rely on the status quo have begun to insult the military as consolidation of democracy and civilian rule over the political landscape gain momentum.
“Some people who rely on the status quo and are uneasy with the democratization process, who insult their own people, who tried to provoke the military by urging it to intervene in politics and failed to do so, have now begun to insult the Turkish Armed Forces,” he said on Friday.
Vehement criticism of Erdoğan came after a war of words between the military and some journalists and representatives of professional associations.
The TSK statement on May 3, directed against some journalists and representatives of professional associations who had accused the TSK of “inactivity” against the government, called attempts to provoke the military “unfortunate.”
In return the İstanbul bar Association slammed the TSK statement on Friday, stating that if the statement was directed against the head of the association, it was very unfortunate and unjust.
The TSK statement was interpreted as a response to earlier statements made by İstanbul Bar Association Chairman Ümit Kocasakal, speaking at a conference held by the Atatürkist Thought Community at Eskişehir Anadolu University on April 29.
Kocasakal -- known for his remarks in solidarity with suspects in the Ergenekon case, a clandestine gang accused of plotting to overthrow the government -- accused the army of being inactive against the government.
“We thought we had an army which was powerful and which would protect us. We now have the Turkish unarmed forces. You are now the Turkish unarmed forces,” he said at the conference, titled “Judicial Independence and the New Constitution.”
“Heads of the İstanbul Bar Association explain their views on daily issues along with legal matters as a natural result of their position in society and historical duties at meetings to which they are invited,” the statement by the Bar Association noted, refuting the TSK’s criticism.
The bar association noted in the statement that the term “unarmed forces” cannot be interpreted as an insult against the military. The statement said the main meaning and motivation of the use of the term “unarmed forces” by Kocasakal, was to address the significance of democracy by emphasizing the role of the people to protect the republic.