Reducing the political influence of Turkey’s army, which has toppled four governments since 1960, is among the European Union’s hardest conditions for Turkey’s membership. A package of constitutional amendments that will further weaken the generals will be put to a referendum on September 12th. It includes a provision to allow coup-plotters to be tried by civilian rather than military courts, and a rule that says civilians can no longer be tried by the army, except in times of war.Certainly a welcome step, even if it probably won't increase the likelihood in the near term of Turkish accession to the EU: any move to extricate the military from the government will be a good one, and Gul's government has shown itself to be Islamist only on the fringes, bearing a resemblance, I'd argue, to the understanding of religion in the US.
Osman Can, a former rapporteur of the constitutional court, argues that the key to demilitarisation lies in measures that alter the structure of the judiciary. In particular he points to a proposed dilution of pro-army representation in a judicial watchdog, known by its initials HSYK and created by the generals following their last coup in 1980. Its decisions cannot be appealed—but this will change if the constitutional package is approved.
Posted by Steve S at 1:02 PM
If you care about the European Union, Turkish accession, or the interplay of Islamic and European cultures, you should note the recent shakeup in the Turkish military: