Of ballots and bullets: explaining civilian control of the military in Turkey, 2002-2011
McCaskey, Kevin K.
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Democratic civilian control of the armed forces is an essential component to a free and open democracy. The states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rely on civilian control to encourage democratization efforts worldwide. This dissertation assesses how the politicians ofTurkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) managed to establish civilian control of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) after decades of military tutelage. Through a combination of constitutional, judicial, and military reforms, by 2011 the AKP had established control over the military. How did the AKP succeed where other political parties had failed? Using the theory of electoral competition, this dissertation demonstrates the link between elections and policy making, and how together these forces challenge military supremacy in democracies. Policies or budget decisions that infringe on military prerogatives lead to conflict with the military for control.Turkey represents a unique case study in civil-military relations that straddles research areas such as transition literature, coup prevention, democratic consolidation, and civilian control of the armed forces. Understanding how the Turkish politicians were able to consolidate the armed forces in the face of long established military prerogatives can help explain how other states might also place the military under elected civilian control.
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