News / Middle East

Erdogan Seeks to Further Curb Turkish Army's Power

FILE - Turkish soldiers in a military vehicle patrol the Turkish-Syrian border near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province, Oct. 11, 2012.
FILE - Turkish soldiers in a military vehicle patrol the Turkish-Syrian border near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province, Oct. 11, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, which faced a wave of street protests and riots this month, moved on Thursday to amend an article of the Armed Forces charter cited by generals in the past to justify coups as defense of public order.
 
Since he was first elected in 2002, Erdogan has radically cut back the power of a military that had toppled four governments in 40 years. The last administration felled, in 1997, was led by an Islamist party to which Erdogan belonged.
 
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters the government had submitted proposals to parliament to amend article 35 of the charter, promulgated after a 1960 coup that resulted in the hanging of a prime minister. Erdogan has cited that prime minister, Adnan Menderes, as a political model.
 
The article was later used as the basis for interventions in 1970 and in 1980, to end months of left-right streetfighting, as well as 1997 when the army saw a danger from political Islam.
 
The amendment would replace the declared duty to “protect and watch over the republic” - a reference that for many Turks would imply strictly enforcing a secular order - with a more limited obligation to defend “the Turkish homeland against foreign threats”.

Coup allegations
 
Erdogan, who has won three elections and despite recent protests has no clear political rivals, denies accusations he seeks to overturn the 90-year-old secular order. But in speeches in recent weeks he has railed against what he sees as the oppression of pious muslims under previous governments.
 
Opponents accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian.
 
Hundreds of top officers have been arrested in recent years as part of an investigation into alleged plots against Erdogan. One, code-named 'Ergenekon' foresaw the engineering of street protests and killings opening the way for an army takeover.
 
Erdogan blamed this month's protests and rioting - the largest show of public defiance of his time in office - on a foreign-backed conspiracy involving market speculators, “terrorist” groups and looters.
 
The demonstrations drew in leftists, secularists, nationalists, professionals, unions and students after police used water cannon and tear gas in a heavy handed attempt to disperse an initial demonstration against the development of an Istanbul park.
 
Parliament will discuss the bill in October after its summer recess.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid