National Security Council (Turkey)

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National Security Council, Ankara

The National Security Council (Turkish: Milli Güvenlik Kurulu, MGK) comprises the Chief of Staff, select members of the Council of Ministers, and the President of the Republic (who is also the Commander-in-chief). Like the national security councils of other countries, the MGK develops the national security policy.

The policy is expressed in the National Security Policy Document (Turkish: Milli Güvenlik Siyaseti Belgesi), commonly known as "The Red Book".[1][2] The Red Book is sometimes called the "most secret" document in Turkey. It is updated once or twice a decade.[3]

History[edit]

The creation of the MGK was an outcome of the military coup in 1960, and has been a part of the constitution since 1961. In this way the 1961 constitution created what the Turkish scholar Sakallioğlu labels "a double headed political system: the civilian council of ministers coexisted with the national security council on the executive level, and the military system of justice continued to operate independently alongside the civilian justice system."[4]

The role of the MGK was further strengthened with the 1982 constitution, adopted by the military junta in the aftermath of the 1980 military coup, before transferring power to civilian politicians. From then on its recommendations would be given priority consideration by the council of ministers. Furthermore, the number and weight of senior military commanders in MGK increased at the expense of its civilian members.[4] In 1992 then chief of general staff Gen. Doğan Güreş proclaimed self-confidently that "Turkey is a military state".[5]

The role of the military in Turkish politics[edit]

The MGK is widely perceived as the institutionalisation of the Turkish military’s influence over politics. Since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the modern secular republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish military has perceived itself as guardian of Kemalism, the official state ideology, even though Atatürk himself insisted separating the military from politics.[6]

Though the attitude of the military may have remained constant, the attitude of the successive civilian governments toward the military has fluctuated, according to Metin Heper: "In Turkey, for a long time, there have been two notable behavioral patterns on the part of civilian governments in their relations with the military: they have either tried to relegate the military to the sidelines or they have granted it too much autonomy." When the civilian government was successful in solving economic problems and internal disputes and "had the upper hand," sometimes as in the 1950s, the civilian government "tried to divest the military of all authority" and the government and military officers became "hostile adversaries."[7]

As a result of these fluctuations in the relationship, there have been two direct coups d’états in 1960 and 1980, the 1971 coup by memorandum, and what later has been labelled a "post modern coup", when Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan from the pro-Islamic Welfare Party stepped down after mounting pressure from the military in 1997.[8] Paradoxically, the military has both been an important force in Turkey’s continuous Westernization but at the same time also represents an obstacle for Turkey’s desire to join the EU. At the same time, the military enjoys a high degree of popular legitimacy, with continuous opinion polls suggesting that the military is the state institution that the Turkish people trust the most.[9]

Recent reforms[edit]

In order to meet EU's political demands for starting membership negotiations, the Copenhagen criteria, Turkey has passed a number of reforms aiming at strengthening civilian control over the military. These reforms have mainly focused on the MGK, its duties, functioning and composition. On 23 July 2003 the Turkish Grand National Assembly passed the "seventh reform package", which aimed at limiting the role of the military, through reforms of the MGK. According to an editorial in the Financial Times the seventh reform package constitutes nothing less than a "quiet revolution".[10]

Firstly it is underlined that the MGK is a consultative body, now with a civilian majority. The 7th reform package made it possible to appoint a civilian Secretary General of the MGK, which happened for the first time in August 2004. The council has not anymore expanded executive and monitoring authorities, and has for instance not any more the authority on behalf of the president and the prime minister to follow up on the implementation of the MGK’s ‘recommendations’. In addition, the MGK no longer has unlimited access to all civil institutions. The MGK no longer has a representative in the Supervision Board of Cinema, Video and Music. It was however still represented in civil institutions such as the High Board for Radio and TV (RTÜK) and the Commission for Higher Education (YÖK), but after critics in the 2003 European Commission report this representation was withdrawn from both institutions in 2004.[11]

Despite the impressive institutional changes, the 2004 European Commission report concludes that "Although the process of aligning civil-military relations with EU practice is underway, the Armed Forces in Turkey continue to exercise influence through a series of informal channels."[12] In the Commission report of the following year it was stated that: "Reforms concerning civil-military relations have continued, but the armed forces still exert significant influence by issuing public statements on political developments and government policies."[13]

Before the reforms, the MGK covertly influenced public opinion through its Public Relations Command (Turkish: Toplumla İlişkiler Başkanlığı). The department has been disbanded.[1]

Appointed by Law[edit]

the NSC and the Secretariat General of the NSC that appointed members are the following:

List of Secretaries General[edit]

Name Rank From To
Mehmet Tevfik Erdönmez Major General 09.04.1938 28.08.1939
Galip Türker Lieutenant General 28.08.1939 13.06.1940
M.Rasim Aktağun Lieutenant General 13.06.1940 21.04.1941
Hüseyin Avni Üler Major General 01.04.1942 09.08.1942
Mümtaz Aktay Lieutenant General 18.03.1943 01.05.1945
M.Rıfat Mataracı Lieutenant General 03.05.1945 14.07.1945
Muzaffer Ergüder Lieutenant General 28.02.1946 10.04.1946
Fuat Erdem Lieutenant General 10.04.1946 14.07.1948
Kurtcebe Noyan Lieutenant General 27.09.1948 01.07.1949
Yümnü Üresin Lieutenant General 11.07.1949 28.04.1950
Kurtcebe Noyan Lieutenant General 25.05.1950 06.06.1950
Mahmut Berköz General 13.06.1950 06.09.1951
İzzet Aksalur General 04.10.1951 05.11.1952
Nazmi Ataç Lieutenant General 05.11.1952 29.09.1955
Mehmet Enver Aka Major General 24.01.1956 29.08.1956
Selahattin Selışık General 04.09.1956 31.07.1959
Vedat Garan General 10.09.1959 04.08.1960
Celal Erikan Major General 16.09.1960 28.11.1960
Mahmut Demircioğlu Colonel 29.11.1960 12.02.1961
Tarık Demiroğlu Colonel 13.02.1961 24.09.1961
Nüzhet Akıncılar Major General 25.09.1961 18.10.1961
M. Şevket Ozan Brigadier General 23.11.1961 14.08.1962
Refet Ülgenalp Lieutenant General 14.08.1962 11.07.1966
Kemalaetin Gökakın General 18.07.1966 30.08.1969
Haydar Olcaynoyan General 30.08.1969 30.08.1970
Emin Alpkaya General (Air Force) 28.08.1970 28.08.1972
Nahit Özgür General (Air Force) 28.08.1972 30.08.1975
Namık Kemal Ersun General 24.08.1975 01.01.1976
Nurettin Ersin General 05.01.1976 30.08.1977
Tahsin Şahinkaya General (Air Force) 05.09.1977 24.08.1978
Arif Akdoğanlar Admiral (Navy) 25.08.1978 08.08.1980
Halil Sözer General (Air Force) 18.08.1980 08.10.1980
Talat Çetineli Lieutenant General 08.10.1980 30.08.1981
Halit Nusret Toroslu General (Air Force) 24.08.1981 30.08.1985
Orhan Karabulut Admiral (Navy) 19.08.1985 20.08.1986
Hüsnü Çelenkler General 21.08.1986 30.08.1987
İrfan Tınaz Admiral (Navy) 26.08.1987 22.08.1988
Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu General 22.08.1988 30.08.1990
Nezihi Çakar General 21.08.1990 30.08.1992
Ahmet Çörekçi General (Air Force) 21.08.1992 09.08.1993
Doğan Bayazıt General 22.08.1993 17.08.1995
İlhan Kılıç General (Air Force) 17.08.1995 27.08.1997
Ergin Celasin General (Air Force) 27.08.1997 24.08.1999
Cumhur Asparuk General (Air Force) 27.08.1999 26.08.2001
Tuncer Kılınç General 26.08.2001 26.08.2003
Şükrü Sarıışık General 26.08.2003 16.08.2004
Mehmet Yiğit Alpogan Ambassador 01.10.2004 16.07.2007
Tahsin Burcuoğlu Ambassador 01.11.2007 25.01.2010
Serdar Kılıç Ambassador 05.02.2010 17.04.2012
Muammer Türker Governor 25.04.2012 present

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mercan, Faruk (2006-08-14). "Kırmızı Kitap’ı uyguladık". Aksiyon (in Turkish) (Feza Gazetecilik A.Ş.) 610. Retrieved 2009-01-06. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Devletin milli güvenlik siyasetini içeren belgenin adı "Milli Siyaset Belgesi" veya "Milli Güvenlik Siyaset Belgesi" gibi değişik biçimlerde ifade edilmektedir. Belgenin resmi adı nedir?". Frequently Asked Questions (in Turkish) (Milli Güvenlik Kurulu Genel Sekreterligi). 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  3. ^ Ergin, Sedat (2004-11-24). "Milli Güvenlik Siyaset Belgesi değiştiriliyor". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  4. ^ a b Sakallioglu, Cizre. The Anatomy of the Turkish Military's Autonomy, Comparative Politics, vol. 29, no. 2, 1997, pp. 157-158.
  5. ^ Özcan, Gencer, "The Military and the Making of Foreign Policy in Turkey", In: Kirişci, Kemal (red.) & Rubin, Barry (red.): Turkey in World Politics. An Emerging Multiregional Power, Lynne Rienner Publishers, London, 2001. pp. 16-20.
  6. ^ Momayezi, Nasser. "Civil-military relations in Turkey", International Journal on World Peace. New York: Sep 1998. Vol. 15, Iss. 3., p. 3.
  7. ^ Heper, Metin. "The Justice and Development Party government and the military in Turkey," Turkish Studies. Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Summer 2005. Vol. 6, Iss. 2, p. 215. doi:10.1080/14683840500119544
  8. ^ Momayezi, Nasser: "Civil-military relations in Turkey", International Journal on World Peace. New York: Sep 1998. Vol. 15, Iss. 3., pp. 19-22.
  9. ^ Ersel Aydinli, Nihat Ali Özcan, and Dogan Akyaz (January–February 2006). "The Turkish Military's March Toward Europe". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  10. ^ "A quiet revolution: Less power for Turkey's army is a triumph for the EU", Financial Times (editorial), July 31, 2003.
  11. ^ European Commission: 2003 Regular Report on Turkey’s progress towards accession, November 5, 2003; European Commission: 2004 Regular Report on Turkey’s progress towards accession, October 6, 2004 and European Commission: Turkey 2005 Progress Report, Brussels, 9 November 2005.
  12. ^ European Commission: 2004 Regular Report on Turkey’s progress towards accession, October 6, 2004. P. 15.
  13. ^ European Commission: Turkey 2005 Progress Report, Brussels, 9 November 2005, p. 41.

External links[edit]