March 24, 2010
Assist. Prof. Özlem Pusane
FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM AND CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN TURKEY
Most scholars of Civil-Military Relations argue that the presence of domestic security threats increases the role of the military in politics. However, observational data show that domestic security threats influence civil-military relations in different ways. Therefore, the main question this research attempts to answer is why domestic security threats have divergent effects on civil-military relations.
This study analyzes the impact of Turkey's fight against the PKK from the 1980s onwards on civil-military relations in Turkey. Starting with the argument that structural variables, such as the presence or degree of threat, are not sufficient to explain the military's role in politics, this research shows that civil-military relations constitute a dynamic interaction and can be fully explained only by dynamic variables. Thus, this study emphasizes that in order to understand the civil-military balance of power in those countries that experience internal security problems, it is necessary to take into account not only the presence of threats, but also variables such as the political strength of the government, the civilian leadership's legitimacy in the eyes of the military, and the extent of international pressure for democratization.