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.
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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid