Turkey purges its secret army by Mümtazer Türköne
This change is supposed to enable governments to perform a democratic review of the military. This democratic review has two basic elements. The first is an administrative and political review. The second is a financial review. These two basic auditing mechanisms, which are considered normal in a democratic country, do not work with the Turkish military. Democratic governments, and especially Parliament, cannot infiltrate the military to get an idea about what is happening inside. The budget allocated to the military is determined by the military itself. Moreover, it does not allow for external auditing to examine how it spends this money. In short, the military stands out as a privileged and immune institution among the organs of the state.
The “anti-reactionaryism document” has made it clear that this unaudited institution is planning conspiracies in the manner of an illegal political organization. The most important implication of this document is that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) pose a very serious threat to the security of the country. Although it is supposed to maintain the security of the country, it is engaged in political conspiracies in order to exert control over the political government. It is being transformed into a criminal organization. It plots to blame innocent people.
The anti-reactionaryism document
The content of the document is being overlooked amid the ongoing heated debates. Given the content of the document and how it was prepared, it becomes clear that the military will inevitably undergo a radical change at the end of these debates.
As two armies fighting against each other define each other as enemies, this document declares its enemy to be Turkish society, including political parties, the media and civil society, the existence of which relies on democracy. With a view to destroy this enemy, it devises provocative acts to put the government in an eyebrow-raising state in the eyes of the general public. It lays traps to eliminate this enemy. This document portrays the TSK as a criminal organization that poses a great threat to the rule of law and its own citizens.
More important than the hair-raising content of the document is how it was prepared. This document was not prepared by a single military officer acting on his own initiative within the TSK. Without a written order directly from the top, i.e., the deputy chief of general staff, such a document cannot be prepared. The order for the preparation of such a document passed through three hierarchical levels before it reached the military officer who actually prepared it. This document constitutes part of a wider plan.
In short, it indicates that there is a military which plans to fight against its own nation and which has the means to do this. Moreover, such work is considered “normal” within the TSK.
A clandestine organization
The most critical feature of the document is that it suggests affording full protection to the defendants in the ongoing Ergenekon trial and to this criminal network itself. There is an organic relationship between this document and the Ergenekon organization. Some statements in the document prove that the Ergenekon organization is an organic part of the military. This conclusion is very important: The Ergenekon criminal network constitutes a part of the military. The actions planned in this document aim to save the Ergenekon defendants and render the government dysfunctional in this regard.
Let us repeat its aim: The Ergenekon criminal network is an organization located within the TSK, which operates under its umbrella and which is managed by its members, i.e., by military officers. This organization is akin to an army within the army. This document is reminiscent of a frame from a long and dark movie. Or it is similar to the temporary illumination of a dark landscape upon a sudden lightning flash. This is an incident where Turkey’s secret army was caught red-handed.
It seems that this clandestine military is a legacy of the Cold War era and was once used as a tool for power and all sorts of crimes were committed by it. This document sheds light on Turkey’s recent and shadowy past. It gives us an idea about how and where unresolved mysterious murders were committed.
History teaches us that when the military steps into politics, the line between heroism and betrayal becomes blurred. Turkey is going through the most secure international conjuncture of its recent past. As the age of ideology is left behind, there is no need for tools of the ideological war. Yet, the TSK contains a secret army with which it will conduct an insidious ideological war against its nation. Such an army can only be given one duty under today’s conditions, which is to control the government. The primary aim of such secret organizations is to protect themselves. The conspiracies plotted and implemented regarding the Ergenekon trial have been done with this urge for self-protection. While it is protecting itself, this organization is undermining the security of the state and the nation.
The process of democratic initiative which Turkey has launched with a view to solve its ethnic issue, i.e., the Kurdish issue, is the most critical battleground for this organization. If the democratic initiative succeeds, there will no longer be a country in which this organization can operate. In a country where bloodshed stops and psychological warfare ends, clandestine organizations can find no dispute to build upon.
Or from a different angle, it can be said that if this organization is allowed to implement its plans freely, the democratic initiative will fail. The most serious threat to the democratic initiative comes from this organization. The anti-reactionaryism document is not only proof of this secret organization, but also a tool with which to remove the most serious obstacle to the democratic initiative.
Radical reform required
Radical reform of the TSK is needed in order to purge it of this secret organization. Turkey has already initiated a reform process in which it can carry out democratic review of the military’s power. This reform must be implemented as soon as possible. There is no other power available to eliminate such clandestine networks other than a democratic authority that can enter into the most confidential rooms of the military. To do this, far-reaching steps must be taken and many habits must be changed. The soldiers must return to their primary mission which is to protect the country, while the line between protecting the country and betraying it must be clearly defined.
There is a secret army within the official institutional structure of the TSK. The anti-reactionaryism document has proven the existence of this army and the institutional protection afforded to it. A new era has arrived in which the dirty laundry of the army will be aired in public. This secret army will be eliminated at the end of this process.