‘AK PARTY not listening to military’
A report prepared upon the order of former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt concludes that the AK Party is not listening to the military. Despite the military’s suggestions to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Gül was elected president
According to a letter written by the military officer who turned these documents in to prosecutors, the report, titled Information support work prepared by the junta, was only one of the many documents prepared by “the Information Support Department’s commissioned staff colonels Dursun Çiçek, Sedat Özüer, İlker Ziya Göktaş and Fuat Selvi … with the intent of directing public opinion under the auspices of then-General Staff Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Nusret Taşdeler with the support of several academics from universities and several politicians from the CHP [Republican People’s Party] administration, upon the order of Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun.” The military officer explained that the document in Addendum B lacked signatures because it was sent electronically. Below is an English translation of excerpts from the document.
1) It is necessary to accept that nationalist discourse and policies suffered a blow after the elections. The elections results are seen as a victory for moderate Islam: At a time when there is widespread Western opposition to Islam, this degree of support for a government described as Islamist or pro-Islamic is especially noteworthy.
2) The West has selected modern Islam as a tool to help fight against radical Islam. For this purpose, US media organizations in particular are publishing articles that suggest the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir are not terrorists and that even Wahhabis are not as violent as they used to be. In this way, there is an effort to bring terror organizations into the ranks of moderate Islam.
5) Those who want to create moderate Islam in Turkey have reached their goals. Turkey has started to be seen as “a model” for Muslim countries. It is evident that it still remains very difficult to reverse this tendency and the momentum gained in the context of an “Islamic democracy.”
6) Therefore, it is possible to say that the July 22 elections were a milestone for efforts to transform Turkey into a moderate Islamic state and pose the danger of going beyond a new religion-oriented period and starting a process in which the republic and the nation’s basic values will be eroded, enabling the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and its supporters to act more indifferently and daringly as a result of empowerment from their July 22 victory.
8) The July 22 elections also revived the gains of moderate Islam and the supposedly ended Greater Middle East project and have led to the “New Ottoman” role crafted for Turkey being put back on the agenda. The “modernization, the Enlightenment and cultural change process” that started with the founding of the republic upon the self-sacrificing, planned and conscious effort of the great leader Atatürk was halted and made ineffective by a movement called “Moderate Islam, New Ottomanism and the Cultural Recycling Process” or “Counter-Revolutionary Process” led by various experts and scientists with the cooperation of some reactionary groups.
9) Despite all suggestions made to the prime minister, Abdullah Gül was elected as president. Although it is possible to view this situation as a requirement of the party’s internal balances and protection of its prestige, it must also be seen as an acceptance of the problems that will arise with Gül’s presidency and a readiness to face them.
10) Internal and external responses to Gül’s presidency were that it was a normal application of parliamentary democracy. The public and the media have adopted the headscarf and do not see anything harmful in the president’s wife wearing a headscarf. Although the president initially used precaution with the headscarf and other sensitive issues, the headscarf has gradually started to take a place in invitation-only receptions, greeting ceremonies, farewell ceremonies and other official events as well as in daily life. Besides, for a while now, women with headscarves and even women wearing chadors have attended various meetings in Parliament, which is the primary public sphere.
To exploit problems the DTP [Democratic Society Party] and its supporters face and block support from the EU [the following measures should be taken]:
a) Declaring at the highest level that the DTP is regarded by the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] as terrorist because of its own statements and behaviors and that it will never be accepted as a counterpart;
b) Sending the message that there will not be any democratic progress as long as they continue to lend support to terrorism in this manner and that by doing so, they are damaging the people they claim to represent;
c) Making sure that the people in the region will remain ambivalent between Kandil, which has been sending the message that “You should not compromise the gains made so far,” and anti-Kandil circles, including the EU, which demand renunciation of terror and violence;
d) “Disturbing” the local people in northern Iraq by pretending to combat terror in an attempt to make sure that they will no longer extend support for terror and delivering the message that this state of disturbance will continue unless they cease extending support;
e) Measures may be taken to make sure that the people in the region cease supporting terror; the measures may include spreading discourse stating that the PKK is the primary reason for the lack of business investments in the region and that PKK activities are detrimental to the interests of the region since possible investors are intimidated by the terrorist organization, which has destroyed heavy equipment as well as roads and bridges.
1) The July 22 elections are a turning point for the Republic of Turkey in terms of the fundamental characteristics of the state. Turkey is being defined as a state of “moderate Islam” that has proven that democracy and Islam can coexist. The government seems to be determined to consolidate the gains it has obtained with the support of the general public and the EU and Europe. It is extremely difficult to divert this trend and this momentum of “Islamic democracy” from its current level.
2) At this point, the government is likely to avoid making many concessions from its current attitude and push the limits in order to satisfy the expectations of its own voter base. The TSK should consider the extent to which it can influence these developments.
3) The groups who support the TSK have considerably decreased. On the contrary, parts of the press, business circles, chambers of commerce, trade unions and universities are against the TSK. There are even increased efforts to turn the nation against the TSK. It is necessary to search for possibilities for cooperation with people of a forceful nature who are loyal to the fundamental characteristics of our state and with nongovernmental organizations with similar views.
4) The TSK should start to rectify its image by working on the common issues of the masses. Therefore, in the first place, attacks against the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and the DTP should be launched either directly or by creating public sentiment against them and by working on the abovementioned themes. Matters of religion and the headscarf should be treated in the same context. The message that the TSK is not against religion should be emphasized on various occasions, and it should be argued that the headscarf is different from the türban and the misunderstandings in this regard should rectified in order to eliminate the emerging public opinion against the TSK.
5) It is obvious that the EU and the US play major roles with respect to developments in Turkey in the fields of security, politics, economy and social life. It is necessary to establish realistic and one-on-one relations with each of them without sentimentality.
In particular, the attitude being formed in EU circles against the government as the real face of the AKP is exposed after the elections should be exploited.
6) A separate study on the policies to be pursued with regard to other countries will be presented later.