*Michael M. Gunter is a Professor of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University. He also teaches at The International University in Vienna, Austria during the summers. His most recent book is The Kurds Ascending: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Modern Republic of Turkey as a secular republic in 1923.[1] Since that time, the Kemalists and military have successfully maintained that a secular Turkey was the only road to progress, reform, and modernization, which today is seen by many Turks as membership in the European Union (EU). The Islamists, on the other hand, have always been painted as reactionary drags on the vision of a modern progressive Turkey. Nevertheless, it has not been easy to dismiss lightly the nation’s Islamic heritage.[2] Since the beginnings of multi-party democracy in the elections of 1950, Turkey’s Islamic roots have proven important and even decisive in the evolution of Turkish politics. The ruling Democrat Party of Adnan Menderes in the 1950s and the Justice Party of Suleyman Demirel in the 1960s and 1970s both depended on latent Islamic support. What is more, the various Islamic parties headed by Necmettin Erbakan beginning in the 1960s boldly espoused an Islamic agenda. In 1996, Erbakan’ Refah Partisi (RP) or Welfare Party briefly even came to power until it was forced to resign by the military’s post-modern coup in June 1997.[3] Both the Refah Party and its Fazilet (Virtue) successor were then banned by Turkey’s Constitutional Court. However, from the roots of this Islamic debacle, Recep Tayyip Erdogan founded a new moderate successor AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or Justice and Development Party) in August 2001, which swept to victory in November 2002 as Turkey’s first majority government since the 1980s.[4] After a brief interlude, Erdogan became prime minister in 2003. The stage was set for a paradoxical switching of roles: Progressive Islamists vs. Reactionary Secularists.

Disdaining previous Islamic aversion to the West, Erdogan’s AKP committed itself to pursuing Turkish membership in the EU. This, of course, entailed liberal political and economic reforms that challenged the privileged position of the Kemalist secularists and military. The inherent struggle came to a head in April 2007 when the AKP nominated one of its own (Abdullah Gul) to be the new president of Turkey. Since the AKP possessed the necessary majority in the parliament to elect him, Gul’s victory seemed a foregone conclusion. The secular opposition, however, seized upon this moment to block what it saw as one of the last bastions of power. On April 13, General Yasar Buyukanit, the Turkish military’s chief of staff, called a rare press conference in which he declared that he hoped that the next president would not simply pay lip service to Turkey’s secular constitution but genuinely respect it.[5] Then just before midnight on April 27, the military posted on its web site, a so-called e-memorandum (e-muhtira) warning against the threat posed by some groups aiming to destroy Turkey’s secular system under the cover of religion.[6] Outgoing secularist president Ahmet Necdet Sezer already had claimed that “since the foundation of the Republic, Turkey’s political regime has never been under this much threat” and that “both domestic and foreign forces seek Turkey to become a conservative Islam model.”[7]

At the same time massive public protests against the AKP and numbering over a million each had already begun in Turkey’s major cities of Ankara on April 14, Istanbul on April 29, and Izmir on May 13. Smaller but still impressive ones of over 100,000 each also occurred in Canakkale, Denizli, Marmaris, and Manisa. Pro-secular associations with memberships crowded with retired military officers and brandishing slogans against the AKP, EU, and globalization helped to organize these protests. Secular women’s groups were also prominent. The secularist opposition then managed to block Gul’s election by simply boycotting the parliamentary election and thus denying that body the necessary two-thirds quorum, a questionable tactic whose constitutionality, however, was quickly upheld by the secularist controlled Constitutional Court.[8] Erdogan was thus forced to call early parliamentary elections to try to break the deadlock. In another web site message, the military urged a “reflex action en masse against these terrorist acts”[9] from the masses. This article will analyze the resulting crisis in Turkish politics between the progressive Islamists and reactionary Secularists.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was born on February 26, 1954 in Kasimpasa, Istanbul, but spent his childhood in the Black Sea town of Rize, less than 200 miles from his family’s ancestral homeland in Georgia. When he was 13, his family returned to Istanbul searching for a better life. As a teenager, Erdogan sold lemonade and sesame buns on the streets of Isbanbul to help his family. He was educated at an Imam Hatip school, Islamic clerical-training institutions ironically made available by the Turkish military after its coup in 1980 in an attempt to preempt leftist and separatist movements. Erdogan also graduated from the Marmara University’s Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences where he first met Necmettin Erbakan and earned a degree in management. In his spare time, he played semi-professional football for 16 years. On July 4, 1978 he married Emine Gulbaran who was born in Siirt (Turkey’s Kurdish area) but is of Arabic ancestry. They have two sons and two daughters. His wife wears the traditional Islamic headscarf, which has brought negative secularist comment upon him.

During the late 1970s, Erdogan worked for the IETT, Istanbul’s municipal transport company and became active in Erbakan’s National Salvation Party (NSP) or Milli Selamet Partisi. After the military coup in September 1980, the NSP was banned and Erbakan himself briefly brought before a military court. He also served his mandatory military service in 1982 as a commissioned officer. Erdogan reentered politics, when Erbakan founded the Refah (RP) or Welfare Party in 1983. According to M. Hakan Yavuz, the nature of Turkish Islamic politics was already beginning to reflect modern imperatives: “The Islamism of the 1980s differed from the Islamic movements of the 1960s and 1970s in its social basis, nature, and impact. . . . For example, the RP-led Islamic movement shifted from being an anti-global, market-oriented, small merchant and farmer’s party to one that demands full integration into the global market and sees a reduce role for the state in the economy.”[10]

During the local elections of 1985, Erdogan became the chair of the RP branch in Istanbul province and ran unsuccessfully for mayor of the Beyoglu district. He was elected to the Turkish parliament in 1991 when the RP finally managed to cross the 10 percent barrier, but was disqualified by the High Electoral Committee due to technical voting rules. During the elections of March 27, 1994, however, the RP became the largest party in Turkey and Erdogan was elected mayor of Greater Istanbul. It is in this position that he first drew national attention as a populist and effective administrator for helping to reconstruct the teeming city’s infrastructure and transportation network without being tainted by the corruption from which so many other Turkish politicians suffered.

On the other hand, Erdogan gave fuel to his secularist opponents when he declared that New Year’s celebrations were a habit practiced by secularists and not a legitimate cause for him to mark. He also said that he only shook hands with the opposite sex so as not to upset and damage the discussion and that afterwards he prayed to God for forgiveness. Then on December 12, 1997 Erdogan ran afoul of the article in the Turkish penal code that banned “incitement to religious hatred” when he publicly read a poem written originally by the Turkish nationalist theoretician, Ziya Gokalp: “Turkey’s mosques will be our barracks, the minarets our bayonets, the domes our helmets, and the faithful our soldiers.” For this transgression he was banned from politics and sentenced to 10 months in prison, 4 of which he actually served. It was this criminal conviction that prevented him from immediately becoming the prime minister following the victory of his AKP on November 3, 2002.

Erdogan became the leader of AKP when it was established on August 14, 2001 by the more moderate members of the former RP, while the conservatives of the now banned RP created the Saadet Partisi (SP) or Felicity Party. Having apparently learned a lesson from his earlier political experiences, Erdogan specifically declared that the AKP did not have a religious axis and would work within the secular democratic framework.[11] Thus, the concept of Islamists vs. Secularists fails to state what the current crisis fully entails. For one thing, as just noted, the AKP claims that it is not even an Islamic party but rather a new type of party that combines conservative social views with liberal, free market concepts.

Increasingly, the AKP has assumed a position as a center-right party, rather than an Islamic one. Some have seen an analogy between the AKP and Europe’s post-World War II progressive conservative Christian Democratic parties as well as the modern West’s catchall parties. Erdogan repeatedly has stressed that the AKP is committed to democracy and Turkey’s secular identity.[12] In power, he has established a can-do reputation of clean government instituting democratic reforms necessary to achieve eventual EU membership. He has successfully endeavored to market Turkey abroad, attract foreign capital, pursue privatization and a liberal market economy, provide necessary services, and initiate a host of political reforms to harmonize Turkish and EU law. Under Erdogan, Turkey has enjoyed an average of 7.5 percent in annual growth, $20 billion in direct foreign investment, an annual export volume of almost $100 billion, an inflation rate below 10 percent, and a record 50,000 plus point high on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.[13] Such stunning economic achievements can be expected to benefit the masses in terms of higher employment opportunities, greater tax revenues, more social spending, and improved educational opportunities, among others. In August 2005, he even admitted that Turkey had a “Kurdish problem” and needed more democracy to solve it.[14] Even his opponents admit that Turkey’s economy has done very well under Erdogan. Although further democratization of the Turkish political system is needed, many observers would argue that the secularists actually owe a huge debt of gratitude to Erdogan and the AKP for their reforms that have bolstered secularism within the context of Turkey’s cultural heritage.

To appreciate how far Erdogan has transformed his original Islamic position it would be useful to compare it with what Necmettin Erbakan, the longtime aging Islamic leader and Erdogan’s earlier mentor, is still saying. Unlike Erdogan, Erbakan continues to exude religious paranoia, myopia, and populism and give harangues on supposed Zionist conspiracies, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism, all positions more fitting of the past. No wonder, the secularists try to associate Erdogan with Erbakan. And no wonder Erdogan and his current associates questioned and then left Erbakan to form the AKP. Today the AKP program has transcended its Islamic roots and strongly committed Turkey to pursue its destiny in the EU. AKP’s democratic and economic reforms have made it all but impossible to establish an Islamic state. Indeed, history may judge Erdogan to be modern Turkey’s most successful leader after only Ataturk himself and the late Turgut Ozal.

Who then would be the real Islamists if the AKP is not? Islamic Sufi orders such as the Naqshbandis and Qadiris, of course, would constitute more traditional Islamists,[15] while the Nur (Light) movement of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1876-1960)[16] and its neo-Nur offshoot headed by Fethullah Gulen[17] would represent more modern scientific Islamic movements. In addition, the Saadet Partisi (Felicity Party) represents the more conservative elements of Erbakan’s now defunct Refah Party that was banned in 1998. Erdogan’s secular opponents claim that he maintains close relations with these openly Islamic groups and that he has a secret Islamic agenda for Turkey. Fethullah Gulen’s movement, for example, has established an international reach including hundreds of schools indoctrinating youths with intensive Islamist training in keeping with the teachings of Said Nursi’s Nur movement and a hierarchy of activists in municipalities and businesses. Indeed, the AKP’s symbol of an electric light bulb is one that a perceptive observer would recognize as also being part of the Nur movement’s symbolism. Although pretending to be moderate, moderate, and apolitical, Gulen was indicted in Turkey in 1999 for his activities, which included footage of him revealing his aspirations for an Islamist Turkey ruled by the sharia and clandestine means to achieve such a goal: “You must move in the arteries of the system, without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers. . . until the conditions are ripe. . . . You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power.”[18] Secularist sources claim that about 30 of the AKP candidates for the July 22 elections are Fethullah Gulen followers (Fethullahcilar). Nevertheless, in May 2006, the AKP government modified the criminal code, and Gulen managed to be acquitted.

The secularists also maintain that many AKP members—including Erdogan himself as well as his close associate Abdullah Gul and the speaker of parliament Bulent Arinc, among others—either come from or have been influenced by the Naqshbandi Sufi sect. Indeed, Erdogan gave some fuel to such accusations when as prime minister he supported attempts to criminalize adultery. Earlier, while mayor of Istanbul, he tried to restrict the usage of alcohol in certain public restaurants, while also inspiring a ban on advertisements depicting women in bathing suits on billboards in Istanbul. Indeed, many women were part of the massive demonstrations against the AKP held in April and May 2007, apparently because they perceived that that party might challenge their secular life style. In addition, of course, the wives of almost all the higher-ranking AKP members including famously Erdogan and Gul wear a headscarf, which the secularists despise as an intolerable challenge to their cause.

All these measures are seen by secularists as making a clear statement about symbolic control of public space. Zeyno Baran, the director of the Center for Eurasian Policy at The Hudson Institute (a Washington, D.C . think tank) argues, for example, that “Islamism in power creates the cultural conditions for the gradual popular erosion of secularist ideals—which will result in less freedom, especially for women.”[19] Thus, conclude the secularists, the AKP acts like any other Islamic party by using democracy in the first stage as a mere means to garner as much power as possible. In the Turkish context this also would imply reducing the military’s role as guardian of Turkey’s secular state by adopting the criteria required for EU candidacy. Then, once the AKP has accumulated enough power, it will show its true goals and seek to impose Islamic rule in Turkey. Whether or not Erdogan has a secret Islamic agenda is something that only the future will be able to judge definitively. Given the secular democratic reforms AKP has instituted, however, it would be very difficult for it to change to an Islamic agenda.

The Secularists

As with the question of who are the Islamists, that of the Secularists too is open to debate. Historically, Kemalism has been an often flexible doctrine named for modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Kemalism is said to consist of six principles or arrows: Republicanism, Populism, Secularism, Revolutionism, Nationalism, and Statism. (Revealingly, Democracy is not one of these arrows.) Despite this ideological impreciseness, Kemalism clearly has stood for two basic principles: 1.) separation of state and religion, and 2.) a single Turkish national identity. The first principle clearly opposed the doctrine to any sort of Islamic orientation, while the second came to see any sort of Kurdish identity as a mortal enemy of the Republic’s survival.[20] Despite recent theoretical reforms to allow the usage of the Kurdish language, Turkey’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, ruled in June 2007 to dismiss Abdullah Demirbas, the mayor of the Sur district of Diyarbakir, because it had voted for the provision of services in languages other than Turkish. (A recent survey by the Sur authorities had found that 72 percent of its population spoke Kurdish while only 24 percent spoke Turkish.) General Yasar Buyukanit, the outspoken Turkish chief of staff, has implicitly opposed Turkey’s EU candidacy on the grounds that it is “creating minorities in Turkey.”[21] He also implied that the United States too was part of the problem because of its support for the Iraqi Kurds and refusal to uproot the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) sheltering in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq.[22]

In addition to these principles, externally, Kemalism opposed any expansionist policies. Ataturk’s famous maxim, “Peace at home, peace abroad,” aptly expressed this point. (Cyprus and northern Iraq are special cases beyond the scope of the present article, but clearly even these two exceptions exist only for historical reasons seen as impacting on modern Turkey’s core domestic survival.)

As for the military, it goes without saying that not only is it the ultimate interpreter of what Kemalism is, but also thinks of itself (with it should be added still considerable but declining popular support) as the ultimate guardian of the Turkish state.[23] This is reinforced by the obvious fact that Ataturk himself based his original and ultimate power on his role as the supreme military commander in Turkey’s epic War of Independence during the early 1920s. Westerners fail to understand the military’s unique role in interpreting and defending Turkish democracy and the resulting contradiction it presents for Turkey’s EU candidacy. The military has removed civilian governments four times (1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997) and seriously considered yet another coup in 2004.[24]

During the first years of the AKP’s rule, Turkey’s “EU-phoria” prevented the military from confronting it. Once inevitable EU skepticism had set in, however, the military felt strong enough to reassert itself before it had been politically reduced beyond reply. The AKP attempt to appropriate for itself the presidency, one of the last bastions of power still not in its hands, offered the military its final chance. Thus, the current struggle for ultimate power in Turkey may be seen as one more between the AKP and the military, rather than just the secularists. Organizations such as the Turkiye Emekli Subaylar Dernegi (TESUD) or Society of Retired Officers headed by retired Major-General Riza Kucukoglu, as well as the Ataturkcu Dusunce Dernegi (ADD) or Society for Kemalist Thought headed by retired General Sener Eruygur, the former commander of the Gendarmerie, for example, played an important role in galvanizing the massive popular demonstrations against the AFP in April and May.

Still this does not do full justice to what is occurring economically and socially. Turkey’s phenomenal economic success since the early 1990s has created a new socially conservative Anatolian middle class of urban migrants with strong Islamic roots who have become entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and politicians. Industry too, represented by the Turk Isadamlari ve Sanayiciler Dernegi (TUSIAD) or the Turkish Association of Industrialists and Businessmen (which is dominated by massive holding companies such as Koc, Sabanci, and Eczacibasi) is part of this new mix. This new middle class is represented by the AKP and challenges the long existing privileges of the older Kemalist middle class that largely consisted of civil servants and bureaucrats. Politically, this older Kemalist middle class has been represented by the party Ataturk himself founded back in 1923, the Republican Peoples Party (RPP) or Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP).

Since the beginning of two-party politics in Turkey in 1950, the CHP has been largely on the defensive, and despite occasional revivals, slowly losing more and more support. Today Deniz Baykal, who has come to see his party’s future closely tied to that of the military rather than its supposed social democratic ideology, heads the CHP.[25] During the AKP’s sweep to power in the election of November 2002, the CHP was the only other party that managed to pass the 10 percent threshold and enter parliament, but with less than 20 percent of the overall vote. Although this was actually an improvement over its previous showing that had dropped it out of the parliament in the 1999 election, the CHP proved to be largely an ineffective opposition to the AKP, at least until it managed to block the election of an AKP president in April 2007.

In its 2007 election manifesto, the CHP questioned Turkey’s EU negotiations because it knew that it would be impossible to maintain a Kemalist state if Turkey joined the EU.[26] Almost desperately, Baykal now declared that “Erdogan speaks with the language of terrorists and supports the view of Barzani.”[27] These references were an attempt to paint the AKP as weak on the national security issue because it was unwilling to authorize a large-scale military intervention against the PKK in northern Iraq. Such a position, of course, offered the Kurdish population little in the way of promise.

As an unabashed ultra-nationalist party, the Milliyetci Hareket Partisi (MHP) or National Action Party (NAP) also sees the national security issue as its own special domain and ties itself to the fortunes of the military. Presently, Devlet Bahceli, a former economics professor, leads it. Frustrated by Turkey’s EU candidacy, which it sees as a conspiracy against the very independence of the state, the MHP also sees the Kurdish issue as one of terrorism and economic marginalization, rather than a struggle for legitimate democratic rights. Theoretical opposites, the CHP and the MHP have established a tacit xenophobic, anti-globalization alliance that accuses the AKP of submitting to the United States and EU[28] as well as having a secret Islamic agenda. Clearly, the AKP has benefited from the incompetence and corruption of the other political parties. The disastrous earthquake in 1999 and the Susurluk scandal in 1996 provide telling examples. Thus, by simply doing its homework and providing the social goodies, the AKP has appeared successful. Almost by default, it is the only mainline party that plausibly has something positive to offer towards dealing intelligently with the economy and minority problems.[29]


On July 22, 2007, the AKP cruised to a landslide victory, securing an unparalleled 46.6 percent of the vote that would allow it to form another majority government. It was the first time in more than a half century that an incumbent government had actually increased its vote. The Turkish people had obviously opted for democratic and market economy reforms as well as for continuing their EU candidacy.[30] On the other hand, they also had voted against inward-looking nationalism, military interference in politics, and ultra-secular fears of a secret Islamic agenda—all characteristics of what many have termed Turkey’s “Deep State.”[31]

Gracious as well as prudent in victory, Erdogan assured his opponents that “there will be no concession on the basic [secular] characteristics of the republic.”[32] He also promised to “press ahead with reforms and the economic development that we have been following so far” and to “continue to work with determination to achieve our European Union goal.”[33] Although he vowed to continue the fight against the PKK, it now even seemed possible to pursue a political solution to the Kurdish problem and oppose an invasion of northern Iraq.[34] Indeed, the AKP further surprised by winning 52 percent of the vote in Turkey’s historic Kurdish areas of the southeast.

Despite its impressive victory, however the AKP fell short of the two-thirds parliamentary majority to force through its presidential choice. Indeed, the AKP’s seats in parliament actually declined slightly because this time both the CHP and MHP passed the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament. This denied the AKP the extra seats it had taken in the election of 2002. In addition, this time 23 members of the pro-Kurdish Demokratik Toplum Partisi (DTP) or Democratic Society Party were able to circumvent the 10 percent threshold by winning election as independents.

The Turkish president is important because he can hold up parliamentary legislation, chooses members of the high courts and board of higher education, and, possibly more to the point, also must sign off on the highest military appointments. In criticizing the military for past coups such as the one in 1980, few seem to remember the partisan violence that was tearing Turkey apart then or how a badly divided parliament had taken over 100 ballots in a failed attempt to choose a new president.[35] Unless the AKP compromises on its choice for president, therefore, the situation potentially was back to square one when the crisis that had led to the July 22 election in the first place had erupted. This time, however, Erdogan has indicated his willingness to seek consensus from the other parties over the next presidential candidate once the AKP had won the election. Hopefully, his secular and military opponents have also learned some lessons on moderation and respect for the democratic process. If not, further constitutional crises were inevitable.


[1] A good introductory history is Eric Zurcher, Turkey: A Modern History, 2nd ed. (London: I. B. Tauris, 1997).

[2] For background, see Serif Mardin, Religion, Society, and Modernity in Turkey (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2006); and Jenny B. White, Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002).

[3] Michael M. Gunter, “The Silent Coup: The Secularist-Islamist Struggle in Turkey,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 21 (Spring 1998), pp. 1-12.

[4] AK in Turkish means white, clean. or honest.

[5] “Strong Warning to Erdogan by Secular Establishment,” Briefing (Ankara), April 16, 2007, p. 2.

[6] See the Turkish military’s website: http://www.tsk.mil.tr

[7] “Sezer’s Farewell Speech: The Republican Regime has Never Been under This Much Threat,” Briefing, April 16, 2007, p. 3.

[8] Sabrina Tavernise, “Turkish Court Blocks Islamist Candidate,” International Herald Tribune, May 2, 2007.

[9] “The Text of the General Staff Press Release,” Briefing, June 11, 2007, p. 14.

[10] M. Hakan Yavuz, Islamic Political Identity in Turkey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 213.

[11] For background, see Berna Turam, Between Islam and State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), especially pp. 134-50; Muammer Kaylan, The Kemalists: Islamic Revival and the Fate of Secular Turkey (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005); and M. Hakan Yavuz, ed., The Emergence of a New Turkey: Islam, Democracy and the AK Parti (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2006).

[12] “Das Sakulare Gesicht der Turkei Bewahren,” Neue Zurcher Zeitung (Zurich), May 18, 2007.

[13] Ihsan Dagi, “The Roots of the AK Party’s Strength,” Today’s Zaman, July 12, 2007.

[14] “The Sun Also Rises in the South East,” Briefing August 15, 2005, pp. 1-2.

[15] On the Naqshbandis, see Hamid Algar, “The Naksibendi Order: A Preliminary Survey of Its History and Significance,” Studia Islamica 44 (1976), pp. 123-52. Hamid Algar, “The Naksibendi Order in Republican Turkey,” Islamic World Report 1, 3 (1996), pp. 51-67; and on both the Qadiris and Naqshbandis, Martin van Bruinessen, Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structure of Kurdistan (London: Zed Books, 1992), pp. 216-65.

[16] On Said Nursi, see Yavuz, Islamic Political Identity in Turkey, pp. 151-78.

[17] On Fethullah Gulen, see ibid, pp. 179-205.

[18] Cited in Omer Erbil, “Sects, Religious Communities, and the July 22 [Elections],” Milliyet (Istanbul), July 10-14, 2007.

[19] Cited in Rod Dreher, “For Turkey, a Clash of Civilizations,” Dallas News, July 15, 2007.

[20] The Kurdish problem in Turkey is beyond the scope of this article. For a good survey of continuing problems involving the usage of the Kurdish language, however, see Scott Peterson, “Why Turkey’s Kurds Are Ever More Edgy,” Christian Science Monitor June 29, 2007; and Joost Lagendijk (Co-chair of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission), “Kurdish: A Different Language,” Zaman (Istanbul), June 28, 2007.

[21] See Ihsan Dagi, “Is the Military in Favor of EU Accession?” Today’s Zaman (Istanbul), April 19, 2007.

[22] See Ihsan Dagi, “Ready for an Anti-Western Coup?” Today’s Zaman, May 17, 2007.

[23] For background, see William Hale, Turkish Politics and the Military (London and New York: Routledge, 1994).

[24] See the detailed analysis in Walter Posch, “Crisis in Turkey: Just Another Bump on the Road to Europe?” Occasional Paper No. 67 (Paris: Institute for Security Studies, 2007), pp. 18ff. The prominent Turkish journal Nokta was forced to close down in April 2007 after publishing apparent details of the attempted coup.

[25] Ihsan Dagi, “To Democratize Turkey, First Democratize the CHP,” Today’s Zaman, July 9, 2007.

[26] Ihsan Dagi, “The CHP and MHP: A Joint Nationalist Foreign Policy Front,” Today’s Zaman, June 28, 2007.

[27] Cited in “Election Campaigns Take a Start,” Briefing, June 18, 2007, p. 4. Also see Ihsan Dagi, “The CHP and the Military: What Are They Up To?” Today’s Zaman, June 14, 2007.

[28] Ihsan Dagi, “A Clash of Foreign Policy Perspectives,” Today’s Zaman, June 25, 2007.

[29] Bulent Kenes, “Minority Test for Parties,” Zaman, June 25, 2007.

[30] On the ups and downs of Turkey’s EU candidacy, see Michael M. Gunter, “Turkey’s Floundering EU Candidacy and Its Kurdish Problem,” Middle East Policy 14 (Spring 2007), pp. 117-23.

[31] For an analysis of this concept, see Michael M. Gunter, “Deep State: The Arcane Parallel State in Turkey,” Orient 43 (No. 3; 2006), pp. 334-48.

[32] Cited in “AK Party Wins Big Despite All Odds,” Today’s Zaman, July 24, 2007.

[33] Cited in “Turkish PM Vows to Pursue Reform,” BBC, July 23, 2007.

[34] Ian Traynor, “Turkey Raises Hopes of Peace with Kurds,” Guardian (UK), July 25, 2007.

[35] On these points, see the military’s lucid explanation for its actions in 1980: General Secretariat of the National Security Council, 12 September in Turkey: Before and After (Ankara: Ongun Kardesler Printing House, 1982). In addition, see Mehmet Ali Birand, The General’s Coup in Turkey: An Inside Story of 12 September 1980, trans. by M. A. Dikerdem (London: Brassey’s Defence Publishers, 1987).