National Security Council (Turkey)
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politics and government of
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". The Red Book is sometimes called the "most secret" document in Turkey. It is updated once or twice a decade.
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."
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. In 1992 then chief of general staff Gen. Doğan Güreş proclaimed self-confidently that "Turkey is a military state".
The role of the military in Turkish politics
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.
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."
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. 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.
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".
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.
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." 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."
Appointed by Law
The NSC and the Secretariat General of the NSC that appointed members are the following:
- President: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
- Prime Minister: Binali Yıldırım
- National Defence Minister: Fikri Işık
- Internal Affairs Minister: Süleyman Soylu
- Foreign Affairs Minister: Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
- Chief of the General Staff: General Hulusi Akar
- Land Force Commander: General Salih Zeki Çolak
- Naval Force Commander: Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu
- Air Force Commander: General Abidin Ünal
- Gendarmerie General Commander: General Yaşar Güler
List of Secretaries General
|Mehmet Tevfik Erdönmez||Major General||9 April 1938||28 August 1939|
|Galip Türker||Lieutenant General||28 August 1939||13 June 1940|
|M.Rasim Aktağun||Lieutenant General||13 June 1940||21 April 1941|
|Hüseyin Avni Üler||Major General||1 April 1942||9 August 1942|
|Mümtaz Aktay||Lieutenant General||18 March 1943||1 May 1945|
|M.Rıfat Mataracı||Lieutenant General||3 May 1945||14 July 1945|
|Muzaffer Ergüder||Lieutenant General||28 February 1946||10 April 1946|
|Fuat Erdem||Lieutenant General||10 April 1946||14 July 1948|
|Kurtcebe Noyan||Lieutenant General||27 September 1948||1 July 1949|
|Yümnü Üresin||Lieutenant General||11 July 1949||28 April 1950|
|Kurtcebe Noyan||Lieutenant General||25 May 1950||6 June 1950|
|Mahmut Berköz||General||13 June 1950||6 September 1951|
|İzzet Aksalur||General||4 October 1951||5 November 1952|
|Nazmi Ataç||Lieutenant General||5 November 1952||29 September 1955|
|Mehmet Enver Aka||Major General||24 January 1956||29 August 1956|
|Selahattin Selışık||General||4 September 1956||31 August 1959|
|Vedat Garan||General||10 September 1959||4 August 1960|
|Celal Erikan||Major General||16 September 1960||28 November 1960|
|Mahmut Demircioğlu||Colonel||29 November 1960||12 February 1961|
|Tarık Demiroğlu||Colonel||13 February 1961||24 September 1961|
|Nüzhet Akıncılar||Major General||25 September 1961||18 October 1961|
|M. Şevket Ozan||Brigadier General||23 November 1961||14 August 1962|
|Refet Ülgenalp||Lieutenant General||14 August 1962||11 July 1966|
|Kemalaetin Gökakın||General||18 July 1966||30 August 1969|
|Haydar Olcaynoyan||General||30 August 1969||30 August 1970|
|Emin Alpkaya||General (Air Force)||28 August 1970||28 August 1972|
|Nahit Özgür||General (Air Force)||28 August 1972||30 August 1975|
|Namık Kemal Ersun||General||24 August 1975||1 January 1976|
|Nurettin Ersin||General||5 January 1976||30 August 1977|
|Tahsin Şahinkaya||General (Air Force)||5 September 1977||24 August 1978|
|Arif Akdoğanlar||Admiral (Navy)||25 August 1978||8 August 1980|
|Halil Sözer||General (Air Force)||18 August 1980||8 October 1980|
|Talat Çetineli||Lieutenant General||8 October 1980||30 August 1981|
|Halit Nusret Toroslu||General (Air Force)||24 August 1981||30 August 1985|
|Orhan Karabulut||Admiral (Navy)||19 August 1985||20 August 1986|
|Hüsnü Çelenkler||General||21 August 1986||30 August 1987|
|İrfan Tınaz||Admiral (Navy)||26 August 1987||22 August 1988|
|Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu||General||22 August 1988||30 August 1990|
|Nezihi Çakar||General||21 August 1990||30 August 1992|
|Ahmet Çörekçi||General (Air Force)||21 August 1992||9 August 1993|
|Doğan Bayazıt||General||22 August 1993||17 August 1995|
|İlhan Kılıç||General (Air Force)||17 August 1995||27 August 1997|
|Ergin Celasin||General (Air Force)||27 August 1997||24 August 1999|
|Cumhur Asparuk||General (Air Force)||27 August 1999||26 August 2001|
|Tuncer Kılınç||General||26 August 2001||26 August 2003|
|Şükrü Sarıışık||General||26 August 2003||16 August 2004|
|Mehmet Yiğit Alpogan||Ambassador||1 October 2004||16 July 2007|
|Tahsin Burcuoğlu||Ambassador||1 November 2007||25 January 2010|
|Serdar Kılıç||Ambassador||5 February 2010||17 April 2012|
|Muammer Türker||Governor||25 April 2012||Incumbent|
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- "A quiet revolution: Less power for Turkey's army is a triumph for the EU", Financial Times (editorial), July 31, 2003.
- 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 Archived April 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine and European Commission: Turkey 2005 Progress Report, Brussels, 9 November 2005.
- European Commission: 2004 Regular Report on Turkey’s progress towards accession Archived April 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, October 6, 2004. P. 15.
- European Commission: Turkey 2005 Progress Report Archived June 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Brussels, 9 November 2005, p. 41.