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Over Time Recorded Changes in Turkish Army Callings | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish soldiers involved in a coup attempt raise their hands in surrender Saturday on the bridge that crosses Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait. Turkey’s government reestablished control Saturday and declared the coup a failure. More than 250 were killed and more, Getty

Ankara- When discussing military coups in Turkey, especially with its most recent startling turn of events, last Friday, it is imperative to take into consideration the creed valued and objectives held by the Turkish national army and the changes they have undergone.

Over the course of time, many alterations have been imposed on the Turkish military institution, starting with the reigns of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey – until recent attempted coup d’état against the current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Fundamentals on which the army institution’s action was guided were those missioned to protect Turkey’s secular rule and republic values from Islamists.

Army-political relationships have witnessed a radical transformation consistent with the Erdogan justice and development-oriented administration which rose to power in 2003. The army’s role was subsequently subjected to core adjustments.

One of the key changes imposed was the cut back on military representation at the Turkish National Security Council, reduced to five members fronting nine civil members.

Moreover, National Security Council decisions are no longer mandatory; the council’s secretary general is a civil member who

follows in the footsteps of the national prime minister- all army actions are effectively put under parliamentary monitoring.

Once an institute which governments deeply feared, the national army’s role continued to be reduced in size under Erdogan’s administration.

In 2013 a parliamentary resolution led to a drastic amendment to the army’s objective, which was that the army was to defend citizens against external threats solely—the army’s previous endeavor was to guard secularism in Turkey.

The Turkish army is considered the second largest military force within NATO—the largest being that of the U.S..

With an approximate $18 billion budget and 670,000 soldiers, the Turkish army ranks 15th worldwide when measuring military expenditure.

Turkish ground forces have 4,300 tanks and 7,550 carriers.

Turkish air power comprises over 900 aircrafts among which are fighter jets, Interceptor aircraft, military cargo aircraft, Military trainer aircraft, armed helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise known by drones.

The Turkish navy registers over 48,600 members assigned over 212 naval ships, 51 aircrafts, Frigate, Submarines and Mine flail. The naval headquarters are located near Izmir, situated on the western Turkey’s Aegean coast.

Broached to several variations throughout Turkish authority hand down, the Turkish army is considered one of the world’s oldest armed institutions.

It was during Ataturk’s rule, post the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, that the political life of Turkey was set into a secular stone and backed by an army missioned to protect the Turkish secular governing system against all internal and external threats.

The Turkish army was fueled and strengthened by a great-scale sense of public national patriotism—people of Turkey long considered the army a hallmark of self-determination which is to be respected and glorified.

After Ataturk’s death in 1938, all army generals abided principals set by the revolutionary leader, and had played a key role in most state political calculations throughout Ismet Inonu’s administration, which succeeded Ataturk’s rule in 1950.

In that period Turkey was introduced to a multi-partisan statehood given that the consensus of Turkey’s military power was only granted after a self-recognition of power standpoint- the army had staged four coups since then, in 1960,1971,1980,1997.

The latest coup attempt took place in July 2016, however rendered unsuccessful and brought down by Turkish public will.