Skip to main content

How Turkey is reforming its military

Turkey is undertaking revolutionary military reforms, but they can’t yet be characterized democratic.
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (C), flanked by Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar (3rd L)  and the country's top generals, attends a wreath-laying ceremony in Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, ahead of a High Military Council meeting in Ankara, Turkey, July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTSK1HV
Read in 

Empowered to issue decrees with the "power of law" authorized by the state of emergency declared after the July 15 coup attempt, the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) government is frantically busy with changes that will radically affect the structure of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the civilian-military relations of the country. Judging from the pace and scope of the changes, this can well be characterized as "revolutionary civilian transformation." The profound changes that have been introduced to the TSK with the decree issued July 31 include that from now on deputy prime ministers and the ministers of justice, interior and foreign affairs will participate in the Supreme Military Council (SMC), which decides on promotions of generals and other important issues in regard to the TSK. The role of civilians in the SMC used to be restricted to the prime minister and minister of defense.

Air, land and naval force commands that were attached to the Chief of General Staff will henceforth report to the minister of defense. The president and prime minister now have the authority to giving orders directly to commanders without going through the once all-powerful Chief of General Staff. Powers of the minister of defense have been expanded, and he can now select his ministry staff himself instead of having to make do with the staff appointed by the military.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.