What is Turkey fighting against at home and abroad?

Many people in Turkey believe that the economic crises, failure and stagnation of the country are mainly due to the interventions of foreign powers.

It is undeniable that foreign powers have an impact on Turkey’s struggle to ensure economic and political stability. In particular, the tensions that Turkey has experienced with major countries have been on the country’s agenda for years.

However, other internal dynamics and terrorist threats affect the country. Throughout its history, Turkey’s economy and politics have been severely affected by coalitions, coups and terrorist threats on its borders.

As a Turkish researcher, I have categorized some of the issues that have affected Turkey in the long run and created an exhaustive list in order to understand the whole issue.

The problem of coalitions

Turkey had 19 coalition governments, five one-party governments, and two military regimes between November 20, 1961 and November 18, 2002.

Unfortunately, no coalition lasted with the one-party regime between 1950 and 1960. The Justice Party (PA) ruled Turkey between these years, while the Fatherland Party (ANAP) remained in power between 1983 and 1991.

As history has shown, Turkey faced political and economic deadlocks under the rule of these coalition governments. For example, the Democratic Party (DP), ANAP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) formed the coalition government that ruled Turkey between 1999 and 2002. Towards the end of their reign, Turkey was in plagued by political and economic crises, which have the way for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power today.

Subsequently, the majority of parliamentarians in the Turkish Parliament voted in favor of the general elections to be held on November 3, 2002. The result of the general election, which was announced on November 18, 2002, saw the AK party obtain a majority of the votes. in general and local elections, placing the party as the party in power.

In this light, coalitions and military interventions have created a significant polarization in Turkish society. It amplifies the hostility between left and right, while fanatic and anti-liberal speeches occupied everyday life.

There is no doubt that military interventions in Turkish politics somehow played a negative role in political, economic and social developments as favoritism and partisanship prevailed during coalitions.

The only intervention should be the people through elections, although some circles have argued that it is necessary to restore law and order throughout Turkey.

The political intervention of the military in Turkey could be characterized as civil disorder, anarchy, political and economic stagnation, reactionary activities, which resulted in the constitutions of 1961 and 1980.

The 1960 coup

Adnan Menderes was a prominent Turkish politician who served as Prime Minister of Turkey between 1950 and 1960.

Citizens stand near a newsstand displaying newspapers announcing the arrest of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes after a military coup, in Istanbul, Turkey, May 28, 1960 (AP Photo)

However, his tenure as Prime Minister ended after the military coup led by General Cemal Gürsel on May 27, 1960. The coup resulted in the execution of Menderes, Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Minister of Finance Hasan Polatkan. This also led to the dissolution of the DP on September 29, 1960.

Military memoranda

Süleyman Demirel was a leading political figure in Turkey. He was President of Turkey between 1993 and 2000 and Prime Minister for seven terms between 1965 and 1993.

Under the leadership of Demirel, the PA won the legislative elections of October 12, 1969 with a majority of 46.5%. However, the Turkish military was not happy with Demirel’s leadership. The army subsequently announced a coup on March 12, 1971, which brought about the change of government and Demirel’s resignation.

Demirel was dismissed from his post on September 12, 1980 by the Chief of Staff, General Kenan Evren, who remained in office until the elections of November 6, 1983, won by the ANAP led by Turgut Özal, who would later become the country’s president.

In 2007, Turkey was at a political stalemate over discussions on presidential candidates. Some circles did not welcome Abdullah Gül’s candidacy because of his Islamic origin. This led the military to declare a memorandum on the military demands of the ruling political party. Subsequently, Gül became President of Turkey on August 28, 2007.

July 15 coup attempt

Turkey and the world were shocked to learn that some military officials tried to overthrow the government and take control of the country.

The Gulenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ) was responsible for the military riot. Hundreds of civilians, police and military officers have been killed and thousands injured in attacks by FETÖ members.

Coup soldiers blockade the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey on July 15, 2016 (Photo by Getty Images)
Coup soldiers blockade the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey on July 15, 2016 (Photo by Getty Images)

It was the first time that military rebels bombed Parliament. However, senior defense officers and commanders did not participate and fought against the coup plotters.

The world appreciated the resistance of the Turkish people and the army against the rebels. The successful resistance prevented Turkey from entering another dark era.

In addition to FETÖ, the terrorist organization PKK is another threat to the country. The bloody group here must be seen as a global threat, similar to Daesh.

The PKK has been destabilizing the countries of the Middle East for several decades. In an attempt to rename itself, terrorist groups affiliated with the PKK began to emerge and their actions caused serious damage to Turkey. Their threat must be taken seriously.

Over the years, thousands of people have been killed by the PKK, while millions have been forced to flee their homes. Since the PKK launched its attacks on security forces and civilians in the late 1970s, Turkey has suffered an economic loss estimated at around $ 2,000 billion (TL 17.17 trillion).

Nonetheless, Turkey has been conducting effective and successful operations inside and outside its borders against the PKK for several years.

According to reports, there are fewer than 300 members of the terrorist group left in Turkey, and Turkish citizens believe Ankara will eliminate them all soon.

Aegean problem with Greece

Greece has pursued provocative approaches in the Aegean Sea to intimidate and prevent Turkey from exercising its legal rights to conduct business in accordance with international rules.

It is no secret that Greece has militarized some of its coasts and carried out confrontational and aggressive military actions in the air and at sea against Turkey. As a result, both sides have been closed to war on the Aegean on several occasions.

The West is notorious for ignoring Turkey on issues related to Turkish national interests in the region and beyond. The West blamed the Turkish side, even with regard to Turkey’s legal, legitimate and humanitarian policies around the world.

Ankara’s continued support for Azerbaijan, Qatar and Libya has come under severe criticism from Western powers, and Ankara has been left alone to deal with a huge refugee problem.

The West’s quick one-sided remarks on these issues, including the Aegean conflict between Turkey and Greece, did not surprise the majority of the public in Turkey.

Tension with the United States

Without a doubt, the United States is Turkey’s most powerful ally. However, this strong alliance has confused many people in Turkey who wonder if the United States is a reliable ally.

Relations between the two allies have probably seen the worst times due to several disputes and conflicts, including the extradition of Fetullah Gülen, the PKK / YPG, the S-400, etc.

A remarkable number of people in Turkey believe that the United States is using its asymmetric leverage against Turkey and is causing the current economic deterioration in Turkey.

The Egyptian case

I would say the AKP party was the most enthusiastic government in the world when Mohammed Morsi was announced the winner of the 2012 Egyptian presidential election.

Unsurprisingly, the AK party had also become this fervent critic of the harsh military coup d’état carried out by Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013 against Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The AKP party has strongly criticized el-Sisi’s military coup against the freely elected president. This conflict interrupted the friendship between Ankara and Cairo for almost a decade, but recently Turkey has attempted to reestablish ties with Egypt.

In short, these are some of the issues that have affected or are still affecting Turkey’s development process in all fields. However, we could do a lot better each time we fall and step back. Therefore, before commenting on Turkish affairs, especially on politics and economy, its links with other countries and the issue of terrorism should be taken into consideration. Otherwise, it would be impossible to discuss Turkey precisely.

About Louis Miller

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