Saturday, May 5, 2007

The nation of Turkey, still under the threat of a coup

From the Economist's report on the struggling democracy in Turkey:

(The country still lives under the threat of a coup by the military if they elect a president from a Islamist party.)
Secularism v democracy

The government's response to the army's ultimatum was unusually crisp. Cemil Cicek, the justice minister, called it “unacceptable” and reminded the generals that they were constitutionally bound to take their orders from the prime minister, not vice versa.

It is not just the army's taste for politics that is worrying. The top general recently said a military attack on Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq was “necessary” and “useful”. Though he agreed that the constitution gave parliament authority over the armed forces, many fear that the army may decide to attack all the same. “They are itching to,” whispers a westerner who observes Turkish security. This may explain why America's response to the political crisis has been so lame. “The last thing they want is a quarrel with the Turkish military,” a European official observes. The nightmare for America is Turkish and American soldiers exchanging fire in Iraq. Based on the past week's events, nothing can be ruled out.

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