It was a showdown that was years in the making. Turkey’s largely secular military and the moderate Islamic government facing off over the future of the nation, as well as over promotions and the prosecution of hundreds of military officers following an alleged coup plot. The result? The entire senior command of the Turkish armed forces resigning en masse.
The tension has been a constant feature of the often uneasy relationship Turkey’s military has with its civilian bosses. There have been many coups in the past, when the military stepped in to protect what it calls the legacy of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.
So when the Justice and Development Party, an Islamic political party, swept into power in 2002, all eyes were on the military. Tensions came to a head when the military took issue with the scale of a government clampdown against officers, journalists and other known secular figures involved in an alleged plot known as “Sledgehammer.” The military wanted to promote those in the military linked to the plot, while the government wanted to put them on trial.
Another instigator was a new constitution approved by referendum, which gave civilian courts the power to try those serving in the military.
Finally some good news for the beleaguered Dassault Rafale fighter program. Negotiations have resumed between France and the United Arab Emirates with a view to selling the system to the Arab nation by the end of this year.
That isn’t the only bit of good news. Dassault is hoping to sell the Rafale M, the navalized version which flies for the French navy, to India to fly off of its new generation of carriers. Unlike its competitors the navalized Eurofighter and the MiG-29K, the Rafale M has a proven track record over Libya.