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METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY PRAGUE

International Relations and European Studies

MASTERS DISSERTATION

Military Coups in Turkey: Is Turkey Prone to Coups?


VOJENSK PUE V TURECKU: JE TURECKO NCHYLN K PEVRATM?

Author: Daniel upak


Dissertation supervisor: Ing. Vt Bene Ph.D.
2013

AFFIRMATION
I hereby declare that the following dissertation is my own work; I used exclusively the
sources and literature indicated in the text. All used sources are included in the bibliography. I
give my consent to Metropolitan University Prague to make this dissertation available in the
Ji Hjek Specialized Library so that it can be used for study purposes pursuant to the
Copyright Act.
In Prague, April 29, 2013

__________________________

INDEX
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 4
Literature Review ................................................................................................................................ 7
Conceptualization ................................................................................................................................ 9
Coup ................................................................................................................................................ 9
Hypotheses and Theories............................................................................................................... 12
Methodology ................................................................................................................................. 16
Coup of 1960 ......................................................................................................................................... 19
Anti-system parties ............................................................................................................................ 19
Past coup ........................................................................................................................................... 21
Grivances ........................................................................................................................................... 22
Inflation at the end of 1950s............................................................................................................. 25
Success of 1960 ................................................................................................................................. 26
The abortive coups of 1962 1963 .......................................................................................................... 27
Anti-system parties ............................................................................................................................ 27
Grievances ......................................................................................................................................... 28
Inflation at the Beginning of the 1960s ............................................................................................ 30
Past coups experience ........................................................................................................................ 30
Success .............................................................................................................................................. 31
Coup of 1971 ......................................................................................................................................... 31
Anti-system parties ............................................................................................................................ 31
Grievances ......................................................................................................................................... 33
Past coups experience ........................................................................................................................ 35
Success of 1971 ................................................................................................................................. 35
Inflation ............................................................................................................................................. 35
The Coup of 1980 .................................................................................................................................. 37
Anti-system parties ............................................................................................................................ 37
Grievances of 1980............................................................................................................................ 39
Inflation ............................................................................................................................................. 42
Past coups .......................................................................................................................................... 43
Success .............................................................................................................................................. 43
Coup of 1997 ......................................................................................................................................... 43
Anti-system parties ............................................................................................................................ 43
Grievances ......................................................................................................................................... 48
2

Past coup ........................................................................................................................................... 50


Success of 1997 ................................................................................................................................. 50
Inflation of 1997 ................................................................................................................................ 50
Coup of 2007 ..................................................................................................................................... 52
Anti-system parties ............................................................................................................................ 52
Research ................................................................................................................................................ 59

Introduction
Ordumuz, Trk birliinin, Trk kudret ve kabiliyetinin, Trk vatanseverliinin eliklemi
bir ifadesidir. [Our army expresses Turkish unity, Turkish power and capability, and
patriotism.]
Mustafa Kemal Atatrk

Her Trk asker doar [Every Turk is born a soldier].


Turkish saying

The former Genelkurmay Bakan (Chief of the General Staff) smail Hakk Karaday once by
saying that the Turkish Armed Forces are the most effective guarantor of the Republic in
Turkey, which is a secular, social, and lawful state1 encapsulated the role that the Turkish
armed forces has for a long time asserted and maintained.
The Turkish Armed Forces (Trk Silahl Kuvvetleri, TSK) have had a very special position in
the Turkish politics and that this position is given by a long historical development going back
to the Ottoman Empire. Army leaders, along with the Sultan had formed the Ottoman
government for decades, and thus had strong and autonomous status in the internal politics of
the country. Furthermore, the modernizing revolutionary groups such as the Young Turks had
military background and/or were graduates from the Turkish Military Academy (Mekteb-i
Fnun-u Harbiye-i Sahane) where they realized the need for reforms in order to reverse the
further decline of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, with a decisive share in the War of
Independence the Ottoman military elite became the the elite of the emerging Republican
Army. Not only became these old elite the new elite but they brought with themselves all their
experience, traditions from internal and external political struggle. Army also owes much for
a great deal of its power to Mustafa Kemal, who entrusted the military his pro-Western
reforms, which he wanted to build a new nation state on. As a result, the former soldiers such
as Kzm
1

zalp (Minister

of

National

Defence

1922-1924,

1935-1939),

Burak Begm, The Role of the Military in Turkish Politics: To Guard Whom and From What? European

Journal of Economic and Political Studies 4 (2011): 143, http://ejeps.fatih.edu.tr/docs/articles/120.pdf

and smet nn (Minister of Foreign Affairs and later Prime Minister and President) reached
the highest positions within the state.2
This special position gave the Army a feeling that they need to steer the politics in order to
keep the Atatrks republic on tracks. Thus, since the declaration of the first republic in 1923
by Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the Turkish military have many times intervened in Turkish
politics. So far, there were five military interventions3 in Turkey in last 80 years4.
The first coup in the modern Turkish history was that of May 27, 1960. The Turkish army
took over the government to restore order in the country namely to end the rule of the
the Democratic Party (Demokrat Parti, DP) that had been taking harsh measures against its
main opposition Republicans Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP)
since 1953. Democratic Party was also criticised for its pro-religious politics and for
betraying the Kemalist traditions. Furthermore, the economy was going through difficult
times as the economic boom was over, the Turkish economy hit the rock bottom, the Turkish
government started borrowing money, and the inflation rose steadily. 5
The second and third coup took place in 1971 in 1980, respectively. In the late 1960s
violence broke out again. This time the violence was a result of the politicization of Turkish
society that

reflected

political structure of

Turkey. The

army after

the

experience

with the authoritative Democratic Party in the 1950s sought to introduce the broadest
possible

spectrum of

opinions represented in

politics. However,

the

result

was

highly fragmented and polarized party system that transferred political conflicts into public
life, where political hatred, along with the traditional vendetta span a spiral of violence. The
Turkish army wanting to prevent the further violence intervened again in 1971 and 1980.6
Army intervened also in 1997 and 2007. In 1997 they made democratically elected, though
pro-Islamist Prime Minister Erbakan, resign through a campaign led by the military using the
media, NGOs and academics as a propaganda tool, rather than directly intervening in the
2

Gerasimos Karabelias, The Evolutiuon of Civil-Military Relations in Post-war Turkey 1980-95 in Seventy-

Five Years of the Turkish Republic, ed. Sylvia Kedourie (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2000), 130.
3

And two coup attempts by Talat Aydemir in 1962 and 1963

Lale Sariibrahimolu, Chronology of Turkish military coups: From the 1961 young officers coup to the 2007

e-memo. Today's Zaman, May 1, 2013, accessed February 28, 2013,


http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=109959
5

Kalayciolu Ersin, Turkish Dynamics: Bridge Across Troubled Lands (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005),

82.
6

Erik J. Zrcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London: IB Tauris, 2004), s. 263.

political process. That is the reason how it its name post modern coup. In 2007 the fifth
military intervention took place. The army issued a memorandum, or an ultimatum, on April
27, 2007 on its internet sites (namely the Office of the Chief of General Staff). This
memorandum was dubbed by many in Turkey as an e-mail post-modern coup or an ememo.7
All this shows us that role of the Turkish military in the Turkish politics is considerable and
that the Turkish army perceive itself as an arbiter of the Turkish politics and a guardian of the
Kemalist legacy. However, this political style has crippled not the Turkish democracy.
Therefore, the importance of this study could be high for it may not only help to understand
and uncover the causes of the coups and hopefully prevent them, and also provide others with
results for further studies.
The thesis is divided into three main parts that are further divided. The introduction includes
the theoretical concepts such as definition of a coup, theories, hypotheses, and description of
methodology used in the thesis. The second part includes the description of each conditions
and outcomes. Furthermore, there is application of Boolean algebra on the cases. The last
main part is the conclusion.

Lale Sariibrahimolu, Chronology of Turkish military coups.

Literature Review
Coup dtat, as Powell & Thyne say was once a hot topic in academia and numerous
works were written.8 Nevertheless, scholarship on coups has recently attracted less attention.9
Moreover, coup studies in the past most often focused on specific regions such as Latin
America10 and Africa11 in particular (as they are the regions with a long tradition of coups),
while recent studies have taken a more general approach.12 The Likelihood of Coups from
OKane and Poverty, the coup trap, and the seizure of executive power from Londregan and
Poole were according to Powell & Thyne among the first to use global coup data, and
subsequent cross-national research offers more general theory and comprehensive empirical
tests that tried to understand the causes and effects of coups.13
Literature dealing with Turkey, especially the English written, is vast. On the other
hand, the vast majority of articles and books mostly deal with the relations of the Republic of
Turkey and the European Union. Many political scientists also occupy their minds with the
civil-military relations14, the future direction of Turkey in international relations, her
relationship with traditional allies and the question of Cyprus etc. Scholars have concentrated
on the internal politics of Turkey and its transformation in recent years as well.
However, there several works about Turkish coups, though not solely about them but
mostly as part of broader issues. One of them is Jenkins, who for instance, suggests that coup
of 1960 was caused by the prime ministers persuance of populist a populist agenda, in which
policies were shaped by short-term political advantage. The result was a rise in political

See e.g. Edward Luttwak, Coup Dtat: A Practical Handbook, Henry Bienen The Military Intervenes: Case

Studies in Political Development (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1968)


9

Ozan O. Varol, The Democratic Coup Dtat. Harvard International Law Journal 53 (2012): 292-356.

10

See e.g. Egil Fossum, Factors influencing the occurrence of military coups detat in Latin America. Journal

of Peace Research 4 (1967): 228251.


11

See e.g. Patrick J. Mcgowan, African Military Coups DEtat, 1956-2001: Frequency, Trends

and Distribution. Journal of Modern African Studies 41 (2003): 339-370, Dorothy Nelkin, The Economic and
Social Setting of Military Takeovers in Africa. Journal of Asian and African Studies 2 (1963): 230-44.
12

Jonathan M. Powell and Clayton L. Thyne: Global instances of coups from 1950 to 2010: A new dataset,

Journal of Peace Research 48 (2011), 249.


13
14

Ibid.
See e.g. Zeki Sarigil, Civil-Military Relations Beyond Dichotomy: With Special Reference to Turkey,

Turkish Studies 12 (2011): 265-278, Ali L. Karaosmanolu, Transformation of Turkeys Civil-Military


Relations Culture and International Environment, Turkish Studies 12 (2011): 253-264.

instability, which was exacerbated by Menderess increasing authoritarianism.15 Dank and


K add to these also polarization of Turkish society due to nonexistent political experience.
Moreover, it was also Menderess diversion from secularism and worsening economic
situation that made the armed forces to intervene.16
Daldal offers a rather different, and to some point a fatalist, perception of the coup of
1960. He claims that the coup does not constitute a simple historical fact that might have been
avoided. The coup was actually a genuine act of modernization in line with the international
socioeconomic context; Turkey catching up with the West through the leadership of a
progressive urban coalition, i.e. the new middle class consisting of army, the intellectuals
later brought together in Yn journal and the manufacturing bourgeoisie. Dladal claims they
strived to pursue the JacobinKemalist tradition against the regressive conservative forces and
to try to catch up with the West.17
Regarding the military intervention of 1971, Brown suggests that it was the large-scale
domestic turmoil that once again forced military to step in rather than the existence of
extremist parties, nor the countrys ideological and political polarization that had been
symptomatic not only for the 1970s.18
The coup of 1980 was according to several scholars staged for similar reasons as the
coup of 1970 instability and unrest in the Turkish society. Kalaycolu claims that military
government was primarily concerned with establishing law and order by trying to put an end
to sectarian, ideological, and ethnic violence ravaging the country for Turkey witnessed not
only the party polarization but also terrorism influenced by Marxist-Leninist guerrilla groups
and fascist nationalist groups such as the Grey Wolves fighting the leftist ones.19

15

Jenkins Gareth, Continuity and change: prospects for civilmilitary relations in Turkey. International

Affairs 83 (2007): 341.


16

Pavel Dank and Zdenk K, Politick vliv tureck armdy. Politologick revue 2 (2011): 37.

17

Asl Daldal, The New Middle Class as a Progressive Urban Coalition: The 1960 Coup DEtat in

Turkey, Turkish Studies 5 (2004): 7576.


18

James Brown, The Military and Politics In Turkey, Armed Forces & Society 13 (1987): 240.

19

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics: Bridge Across Troubled Lands, 117.

Conceptualization
Coup
First, we face a difficult question What is a coup? It is a difficult question because
there are as many definitions of a coup as there are as many articles and books about coups.
First, we need to formulate our working definition by examining what their targets and who
the perpetrators are, and what tactics they use.20
As for the targets, Janowitz suggests that the goal of the perpetrators is the existing
regime.21 This target, however, is very rare for perpetrators do not usually want to alter or
replace the existing regime but only oust the people in charge they are not satisfied with.
Further change of a given regime may be an unwanted by-product of a coup but not the primal
goal. In other words, they merely want to give politics their directions, not to change the
system fundamentally. The reason for this mere steering is that the army is a veto player22 i.e.
the army only wants to usually keep the status quo and not to lose its position in the system.
Therefore, the steering, in order to differentiate it from mere political influence, must target
the chief executive which is in our case the Turkish prime minister. Thus, for instance, Finers
definition of a coup where the perpetrators substitute their own policies and/or their persons,
for those of the recognized civilian authorities23 is considered imprecise for such a definition
does not draw a clear line between a political influence and a coup. This paper thus remains
consistent with most other works done by for example Thomspon24, and Powell & Thyne25
that only attempts to overthrow the chief executive qualify as coups.
As for perpetrators our task is much easier and less contested. Various scholars
suggest various perpetrators ranging from Janowitz's organized factions26, Fergusons
20

Powell and Thyne: Global instances of coups from 1950 to 2010: A new dataset, 250.

21

Morris Janowitz, Military Institutions and Coercion in the Developing Countries. (Chicago: University of

Chicago Press, 1977), 49.


22

Veto players are political actors whose approval is necessary to change the current political settings i.e. the

status quo. George Tsebelis, Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work (Princeton University Press,
Princeton 2002), 2.
23

Samuel Finer, The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics. (Boulder: Westview, 1988), 23.

24

William R. Thompson, Corporate Coup-Maker Grievances And Types Of Regime Targets, Comparative

Political Studies 12 (1980): 495 accessed April 25, 2013, doi:10.1177/001041408001200407


25

Powell and Thyne, Global instances of coups from 1950 to 2010: A new dataset, 250.

26

Janowitz, Military Institutions and Coercion in the Developing Countries, 49.

soldiers, politicians, and mercenaries to Taylor & Jodices27 groups, cliques, cabals, parties
and factions either outside or inside a government, and its agencies...rebellious minorities...the
military, or conspirators backed by foreign powers.28 The broader the perpetrators range the
more blurred the line between coup and other anti government actions. As we are interested in
military coups only we will be looking at coup attempts or overthrows executed by the
Turkish armed forces only.
According to, for example, McGowan, and Powell & Thyne, the tactics leading to the
chief executive overthrow must be illegal. They claim that when it is a legal act it just another
form of a political pressure. However, the Turkish case a bit more complicated and the line
between legal and illegal is blurry and some claim that the military intervention of 1997 was
not a coup for the configuration of the National Security Council (Mill Gvenlik Kurulu
MGK) regulated by Law No. 2945 from November 1, 1983 and the new Constitution of 1982,
in fact institutionalized the presence of the Turkish military in everyday politics. The NSC
was entitled with protecting the public order and safety, the national security, and the
military itself was able to ...also define security threats and to introduce measures to mitigate
those threats internally and externally. The NSC than manifested29 its decisions to the
Cabinet and the Cabinet was to prioritize such decisions.30
In line with this procedure, the Cabinet was to take defensive action based on the
recommendations of the National Security Council, to protect national security and to realize
national goals, and these policies were enforced through the National Security Policy
Documents (NSPD), which were updated regularly, classified as Top Secret, and lacked legal
basis. As they were classified documents it was not precisely known how they were prepared.
TESEV suggests that probably The Chief of Staff authored the first draft and then the draft
was finalized at the Secretariat General of the National Security Council (SGNSC). The final

27

Powell & Clayton note that even though Taylor & Jodice did not intend to create a classical coup definition

their definition has been several times used as such. Powell and Clayton, Global instances of coups from 1950
to 2010, 251.
28

Charles Lewis Taylor and David A. Jodice, World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators III, 1948

1982. doi:10.3886/ICPSR07761.v2
29

During the period between 1961 and 1982 the NSC could only advise the Cabinet.

30

Hale Akay, Security Sector in Turkey: Questions, problems, and solutions (TESEV Democratization

program

policy

report

series):

10,

accessed

http://www.aciktoplumvakfi.org.tr/pdf/guven_rapor_dunya_duzelti.pdf

10

April

29,

2013,

paper was then handed to the Prime Minister, who was almost obliged to sign.

31

In sum, the

NSC on a basis of ambiguous concepts of e.g. protecting the public order and safety made
the Cabinet adopt a policy that lacked legal basis. Hence, it was neither illegal nor legal and in
this manner the argument of the legality of the coup of 1997 does not seem correct.
Second, there is no need for violence. As Powell & Thyne say many coup attempts
have sparked civil wars, however, most coups are bloodless events. 32 In Turkey the situation
is very similar to what Powell & Thyne claim and thus the author of this paper stated no
threshold or a body count for a coup. The truth is that the events such as arrests, trials, and
executions following the Turkish coups were several times present the actual overthrow was
in most cases bloodless and smooth.
Powell & Thyne than argue that coup attempts must be overt in a sense that there has
been a visible movement to claim power and actual in a sense that the events are not alleged
ex post facto in some kind of trial proceeding in order to exclude plots and rumours. Plots and
rumours must be left out for at least two reasons. First, they are difficult to spot and second,
they can be manufactured in order not only to take preemptive measures to prevent a coup but
also to justify sever measures taken to suppress the population. The ongoing Ergenekon case
investigation and Bayloz (Sledgehammer) coup plan exposure could hypothetically add more
cases to our research. However, even if the judge proved the plotters guilty we would not
know whether it is the entire truth or not therefore the author rule these alleged attempts out.
To summarize our concept, a successful coup is a removal of the recognized chief
executive which was preceded or is accompanied by the threat to use, display or actual use of
force.

31

Hale Akay, Security Sector in Turkey: Questions, problems, and solutions (TESEV Democratization

program

policy

report

series):

10,

accessed

http://www.aciktoplumvakfi.org.tr/pdf/guven_rapor_dunya_duzelti.pdf
32

Powell and Clayton, Global instances of coups from 1950 to 2010, 251.

11

April

29,

2013,

Hypotheses and Theories


This thesis tries to answer the question What leads to a succesfl coup? Literature on
causes of coups is vast. Each author offers its own coup causes and/or its combinations
ranging from Hibbss, Luttwaks, and Finers domestic political crisis, Feits and Bienens
military size, Fossums economic crisis or decline to Thompsons, Farcaus , and Decalos
officers personal grievances.
We are going to look at the last sixty three years of the Turkish republic namely from 1950
which marked the first free and fair elections since the establishment of the republic in 1923
and also ended the twenty seven years of a single-party regime led by the Republican People's
Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi CHP).
Same as Belkin & Schofer in Toward a Structural Understanding of Coup Risk we are going
to divide causes into two categories triggering and structural ones. Belkin & Schofer states
that the structural causes deep and longer-term structural causes i.e. governmental
organisation, societal arrangement, political culture, and state-society relations make coups
possible are of the greatest importance for us for they prepare ground for a coup risk but not
necessarily lead to a coup. Triggers such as short-term crises accelerate coups but triggers
alone do not lead to coups.33 However, we are trying to find causes of the Turkish military
coups thus we are going to try find a possible combinations of conditions that lead to coups
i.e. combinations of both structural causes and triggers at the same time.
Therefore, the first condition is military grievances. However, as every coup or coup
attempt showed some kind of disfavour of an incumbent regime expressed by either
memorandum or by addressing the nation government on its web sites common sense tells us
there is always some level of military disappointment present within the military command.
Therefore it is necessary to further specify this concept. According to Colton, officers
intervene against civilian authorities when their perceived interests are being denied or
threatened by civilian policy.34 In other words, grievances document the desire of the Armed
Forces as an organisation to keep and/or expand its privileged position in the Turkish political
system and society. Thompson calls it corporate military grievances and further divides them

33

Aaron Belkin and Evan Schofer, Toward a Structural Understanding of Coup Risk. Journal of Conflict

Resolution 47 (2003), 600.


34

Timothy J. Colton, Commissars, Commanders, and Civilian Authority: The Structure of Soviet Military

Politics (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1979), 240.

12

into three levels of concern. The first level involves corporate grievances concerned with
protecting and enhancing the positions and resources of the military organization. The second
or not-so-corporate cluster involves the same concerns, however, only of competing elites,
factions, and ethno-regional groups within the military. The third the societal residual
concentrates on efforts primarily designed to preserve or alter the prevailing societal
distribution of positions and resources.35
This perceived threat in form of corporate military grievances is further divided into
two categories. The first is Corporate Positional Grievances and includes perceived threats to
its autonomy, monopoly, honour, and political position. The second is Corporate Resource
Grievances with concerns of pay, promotions, appointments, assignments, and or retirements;
budget allocations, training facilities/arrangements, and/or inter-service favouritism; and
general military policy and/or the level and nature of support for military operations. 36
Thus, we can assume that corporate grievances are behind a successful coup as they
include the whole military organization and in this sense it is in every soldiers interest to take
action.
Hence, we can assume that:
H1: When the Armed forces perceive threats to their corporate interests i.e. interests
shared by every soldier such as autonomy, monopoly, honour, and political position it
is likely they will stage a successful coup.

Other condition that is included in many researches is economic crisis or decline. Not
only Fossum includes this trigger among his causes but also for instance Grsel claims that
each military coup that took place in Turkey after the 1950s profited from similar economic
conditions such as high inflation and lack of hard currency to pay for the imported goods.37
It is widely believed that economic crisis, usually marked by high inflation has direct
psychological effect on population for their purchasing power decreases as they have literally
less money in their pockets. This dissatisfaction tends to create tensions as the population
35

William R. Thompson, Corporate Coup-Maker Grievances And Types Of Regime Targets, Comparative

Political Studies 12 (1980): 488, accessed April 25, 2013, doi:10.1177/001041408001200407


36

Ibid., 490.

37

Seyfettin Grsel, Economic background of military coups. Todays Zaman, April 22, 2012, accessed April

25, 2013, http://www.todayszaman.com.

13

usually accuse the incumbent government of incapability to tackle the worsening economic
situation. What is worsening economic situation? In other words, how to conceptualize
worsening economic situation? Several studies have been conducted with various outcomes. It
is widely known that hyperinflation, for instance, has a direct destructive effect on people as it
makes their savings disappear and randomly redistribute resources. However, as Turkey has
never experienced a hyperinflation we need to look further. Khan and Senhadji, for example,
conducted a study that included 140 countries from period 1960-1998 and concluded that
inflation higher than 7-11% has a negative effect on the economic growth of developing
countries.38
Nevertheless, this study only tells us when the economy stops to grow; therefore, the
following study of Michael Bruno and William Easterly is of higher importance to us. Bruno
and Eastrely found out in their empirical study of 26 countries during the period between
1961 and 1992 that the inflation crisis starts when a critical threshold of 40% is crossed at
least in two consecutive years.39 Another threshold, set by a Nobel Prize-winning economist,
Paul Samuelson, claimed that the economy highly suffers when prices rise by double or triple
digit numbers per annum for some time. The situation, termed as Galloping Inflation, is
marked by prices rising higher than 20% but less than 1000% per annum.40 This 20%
threshold seems somewhat more right than the aforementioned 40% as the Turkish inflation
median was 20.40% during the period between 1950 and 2007. Thus, it can be said that the
Turkish economy has been used to a higher inflation rates and consequently numbers above
20% seems to be the threshold that when crossed it starts to suffer. Hence my second
hypothesis is as follows:
H2: A high inflation marked by numbers over 20% over a period of at least two years
leads to vulnerable society and makes the incumbent government look incompetent.
This enables the Armed Forces to step in and clean out the mess and restore the
order by staging a successful coup a successful coup.

38

Khan, M. and A. Senhadji, Threshold effects in the relationship between inflation and growth. ( paper

prepared for the IMF Staff Papers, 2001): 1-21. http://ideas.repec.org/a/pal/imfstp/v48y2001i1p1.html.


39

Michael Bruno and William Easterly, Inflation crises and Inflation crises and long-run growth Journal of

Monetary Economics 41 (1998): 3-26.


40

Paul A. Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus, Economics (New York: McGraw-Hill 1998), 581.

14

The next often mentioned cause, and the most mentioned cause when it comes to
Turkey, is a domestic socio-political crisis that makes a regime vulnerable and paves the way
for a coup. This crisis is an expression of a lack of consent with the regime. This lack of
consent is caused by the inability of a given government address the needs of its population or
parts of its population. Such crises are thus crises of political legitimacy of a given regime and
are usually accompanied by frequent change of governments, rapid birth and disappearance of
political parties that is connected to high volatility, and/or presence of a large anti-system
party or parties in the party system. People take part in mass rallies, strikes, they vote with
their feet i.e. they flee the country, etc. Therefore, political instability is can be caused by a
presence of a subversive party or parties.
However, the mere presence is insufficient as the only presence can signalize
disappointment of a part of society. On the other hand, presence of at least one relevant antisystem party can have far-reaching consequences as Sartori declared these parties operate
within the system whose values they do not share. They can block the coalition formation and
thus cause a stalemate; they can block the legislation process, or even change fundamental
laws when in power etc. Hence, army is able to act as a deus ex machina that can saves the
free political competition from the outside.
The time limit for duration in a system should not apply since the relevant anti-system
party can block the initial coalition formation right after the elections.
Based on this, I posit the following relationship:
H3: A presence of at least one relevant anti-system party makes a party system
vulnerable and thus enables the Armed Forces to step in and clean out the mess by
staging a successful coup.

The next widely accepted, and in this case a structural cause of coups, is a past history
of coups. As Zimmermann puts it The likelihood of coups is severely increased if coups have
occurred in the past.41 In other words, the more coups there are in a given country the more
probable it is that there will occur one in future for the more often army resorts to this chief
executive removal the more normal it seems to wider public and this extraconstitutional
method is accepted almost as a norm whilst the distance between coups is irrelevant.
41

Ekkart Zimmermann, Political violence, crises and revolutions: Theories and research (Boston: G. K. Hall &

Co, 1983), 276.

15

However, empirical findings of Bueno de Mesquita, Siverson and Woller suggest only 10
years.42 Nevertheless, the idea behind this condition is that past coup experience is accepted
by people who experienced this extraconstitutional method. In this logic, only when the old
generation is replaced by the new one there is a hope for a resistance to the tradition of coup
politics. Otherwise, it is assumed that the old one would accept it again. The assumption
should also include the Armed Forces for it is easier to stage a coup when one has a previous
experience with one. From this, I posit:
H4: There is high probability of a successful coup in a regime that experienced another
successful coup whilst the gap between them is not more than 20 years.

Methodology
Still rather young and not a frequently applied method The Quantitative
Comparative Analysis will be used in this research. Though Charles C. Ragin laid the
foundations of a QCA in 1987 in The Comparative Method it started to be widely used only in
the late 1990s and for journal articles even several years later (2003 and 2004) and yet event
there has been a sharp increase in recent years the number of articles do not exceed 320
mainly English written articles.43
As the founding father of this method puts it in simple words, QCA attempts to bridge
the qualitative and quantitative analysis. Ragin aimed at developing a synthetic strategy that
would integrate the best features of the qualitative (case-oriented) approach with the best
features of the quantitative (variable-oriented) approach.44 As it is in the middle ground
between quantitative and qualitative methods opinions about number of case selection differs
from very few to even thousands of cases.45 Although the current trend is to use QCA
mainly in medium-N designs Ragins QCA can be usefully applied to research designs
involving small and intermediate-size Ns (e.g., 5-50). It was until recently when researches
used QCA for all three ranges small-N (less than 10), medium-N (between 10 and 50 cases)
42

Bueno de Mesquita, B., R. M. Siverson and G. Woller, War and the fate of Regimes; a Comparative

Analysis, American Political Science Review 86 (1992), 638-46.


43

Benot Rihoux, Priscilla lamos-Concha, Damien Bol, Axel Marx and Ilona Rezshazy, From Niche to

Mainstream Method? A Comprehensive Mapping of QCA Applications in Journal Articles from 1984 to 2011.
Political Research Quarterly 66 (2013), 175.
44

Charles Ragin, The Comparative Method (Berkley: University of California Press, 1989) 84.

45

Rihoux et. al.,: From Niche to Mainstream Method? 178.

16

and large-N (more than 50 cases) equally. Medium-N applications have become preferred
by scholars only after 2006 and are now the most predominant.46
As for the case-oriented part, the QCA, unlike most of the statistical methods, provides
space for complex causality meaning that different constellations of factors may lead to the
same result i.e. equifinality.47

This multiple conjunctural causation is a complex

combination of necessary and sufficient conditions (INUS), or in other words conditions that
are insufficient but necessary part of a condition which is itself unnecessary but sufficient for
the result.48 In simpler words, a necessary condition X itself does not lead to an outcome Y
hence we can observe X without Y. On the other hand, a sufficient condition X itself directly
leads to an outcome Y, i.e. X is sufficient to produce that outcome. However, this path is not
always necessary, as some other alternative paths (with different conditions, at least partly)
could very well lead to the same outcome once mentioned equifinality .49
Here comes the quantitative part in play when we use Boolean algebra to find
sufficient configurations of necessary conditions by converting conditions into truth values
(0)s and (1)s where (0)s represent full set non-membership of condition and (1)s represents
a full set membership. A common example is division of countries due to their economic
performance. GDP of Norway for example is one of the highest thus this country falls under
well performing economies and would get (1) in a truth table. Analogously, GDP of Lesotho
is one of the lowest and therefore it would fall under (0).
One can see that a simple division to either present or not present or (0) or (1)
respectively would be neat and well-arranged but would not embrace the complexity of a
given issue. An example usually given is a democratic nature of state. When researching the
conditions of democracy in the Old Europe the researcher has an easier job than the one
doing a research on wider variety of states say both the Old and New Europe. Switzerland
as well as Norway fall under democratic countries. However, imagine we have Norway,
Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania. All of them are without doubt democratic countries but
some of them to a greater as well as to a lesser degree.
46

Rihoux et. al., From Niche to Mainstream Method? 178.

47

Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Gisle De Meur, Benot Rihoux and Charles C. Ragin, Qualitative Comparative Analysis

(QCA) as an Approach (New York: SAGE Publications, 2008), 18.


48

Julian Reiss, Empirical Evidence: Its Nature and Sources in The SAGE Handbook of the Philosophy of

Social Science, ed. Ian C. Jarvie and Jesus Yamora-Bonilla (New York: SAGE Publishing, ), 568.
49

Dirk Berg-Schlosser et. al., Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an Approach., 10

17

Having this in mind Charles Ragin, a major scholar dealing with this research method,
replaced this imperfect dichotomous crisp set QCA (csQCA) method with more
sophisticated fuzzy set one (fsQCA). The researcher is not forced to decide between (0)s
and (1)s anymore but can calibrate the conditions on a scale from the full nonmembership (0)
to the membership (1). As is the decision in a csQCA whether to assign one condition with (1)
or (0) and thus influence the outcome of a given research so is the calibration in the fsQCA.
The researcher can unconsciously put in deformed or wrong data and thus influence the
outcome of a given research as well. Such calibration is possible only through the use of
theoretical and substantive knowledge. Once a researcher knows his case it is essential to
determine the three qualitative breakpoints (also known as anchor points): full membership
(1), full nonmembership (0), and the cross-over point, where there is maximum ambiguity
regarding whether a case is more in or more out of a set (.5).50
Fuzzy membership scores address the varying degree to which different cases belong to a
set51
Then, it is up to each and every researcher how precise scale he or she is going to use.
One can use a simple three-value fuzzy set {0, 0.5, 1} which is crisp set QCA taken a step
further or four-value fuzzy set {0, 0.33, 0.67, 1} six-value fuzzy set {1, 0.9 0.6, 0.4, 0.1, 0}, or
use a continuous fuzzy set ranging from (0) to (1).52

50

Charles C. Ragin, Fuzzy-set social science (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000), 161.

51

Charles C. Ragin, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, in Configurational Comparative Analysis, ed. Charles

Ragin and Benoit Rihoux, (New York: SAGE Publications, 2007), 3.


52

Ibid.

18

Coup of 1960
Anti-system parties
The Republic of Turkey was founded in as early as in 1923 and so was its
parliamentarism. Nonetheless, the period from establishment of the Republic in the
1920s until 1960 is marked by the rule of only one party at a time. The first of these was the
Atatrks and later nns Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP)
and later, in the first free elections in 1950, the CHP was replaced by the Democratic Party
(Demokrat Parti, DP) led by Adnan Menderes.53
Throughout the 1950s there were no other relevant parties but the DP and CHP. DP
was able to secure the majority in all three elections in the 1950s and to rule alone due to the
election system. Even though the parties were both close to the ideological center the
ideological gap between them widened throughout the 1950s due to intense conflicts between
the DP and the CHP over the practice of democracy. The Democratic Party, a democratic
alternative to the CHP in the elections of 1950, soon became self-confident with its electoral
victories and adopted even the less democratic political style of governance than the CHP.54
The DP chose confrontation rather than cooperation and compromise, with the
opposition whilst the CHP adopted the same political style in order to undermine the
legitimacy of Menderes government. The tension between the DP and CHP had been rising
rapidly after the elections of 1957. The DP staged attacks against CHP politicians such as the
one in town of Uak where a stone flew out of the crowd and hit nn in the head. Another
incident happened when nn was on the way from the Istanbul airport and his car was
attacked by a violent mob.55 Furthermore, the DP decided to restrain the opposition officially
and consequently political leaders. None but those from the Demokrat Parti, were not allowed
to hold meetings and give public speeches. For instance, smet nn when campaigning in

53

Kemal H. Karpat, Military interventions: Army-civilian relations in Turkey before and after 1980, in

State, democracy, and the military. Turkey in the 1980s, ed. Metin Heper and Ahmet Evin (Berlin-New York: de
Gruyter, 1988), 144147.
54

Sabri Sayari, The Changing Party System, in Politics, Parties, and Elections in Turkey, ed. Sabri Sayari and

Ylmaz Esmer (Boulder-London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002), 12.


55

Cihat Gktepe, May 27 from the perspectives of envoys. Todays Zaman, June 3, 2012, accessed April 29,

2013, http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=282387

19

1959 was stopped by the gendarmerie56 at the doorsteps of Kayseri, a city in Central Anatolia
and was later let in only after a fierce debate with the gendarmerie officers.57
At the end of the 1950s the radio was broadcasting violent attacks against the
opposition at a daily basis calling them, among other things, political bandits, anarchists,
and intriguers.58 The Turkish radio also read hours-long lists of individuals (mostly fictional
or dead) who had left the opposition parties and had joined the ranks of the DP. Additionally,
the Democratic Party was also criticised for its pro-religious politics and for betraying the
Kemalist revolution.59
In addition, in the spring of 1960 university students protests spread to all major
university campuses of the country, in Ankara, and Istanbul asking for university autonomy,
freedom of speech, and freedom of the press which were also constrained by the DP
government.60 Surprisingly, Menderess government set up the Inquiry Commission of
Assembly (Tahkikat Komisyonu)61 in April which was inspired by the infamous U.S. House
Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Inn being aware of a considerable support
of the Armed Forces spoke in 1959 in the Parliament in a reaction to the establishment of the
aforementioned commission as follows:
"If you continue on this road, even I will not be able to save you."
This "warning" actually followed his earlier statement:
"When the conditions compel it, revolution is the legitimate right of nations."62

56

Gendarmerie or Jandarma is a branch of the Turkish Armed Forces assigned police duties responsibilities in

rural areas.
57

Metin Heper, smet nn: The Making of a Turkish Statesman (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 202.

58

Haluk ahin, Broadcasting Autonomy in Turkey: Its Rise and Fall, 1961-1971. Journalism Quarterly 58

(1981): accessed February 28, 2013, doi:10.1177/107769908105800307.


59

Umut Azak, Secularism in Turkey as a Nationalist Search for Vernacular Islam, Revue des Mondes

Musulmans et de la Mditerrane 124 (2008): accessed February 28, 2013, doi:10.4000/remmm.6025.


60

Ersin Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics: Bridge Across Troubled Lands (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005),

83.
61

Cihat Gktepe, The Menderes Period (1950-1960), The Journal of Turkish Weekly, accessed April 29, 2013,

http://www.turkishweekly.net/article/60/the-menderes-period-1950-1960-.html
62

Cihat Gktepe, 1960 "Revolution" In Turkey And The British Policy Towards Turkey " in The Turkish

Yearbook of Internatioanl Relations, ed. lhan Uzgel, Atay Akdeveliolu, Nuri Yeilyurt (Ankara: Ankara
University Press, 1960), 157.

20

Meanwhile, Menderes also closed down People's Houses63 at which women and girls
attended, azan, a call to prayer, was sung once again in Arabic. Although this was a part of a
policy aiming at a broadening of religious freedom it was seen as anti-secular move since it
was Atatrk himself who changed the language of azan from Arabic to Turkish in the 1920s.
This situation was getting more and more out of control. Hence, menders in order to get the
country under control declared martial law on May 1, 1960. Nonetheless, it was too late as the
incident form May 5, 1960 proves. Menderes, after having given a speech luckily escaped the
lynching of 3,000 citizens demanding more freedom.
Although the DP was moving towards more authoritarian style of governance it is not
possible to say that the DP was an anti-system party. The Democratic Party never desired to
fundamentally change the nature of the Turkish Republic. Therefore, the condition is not
present.

Past coup
On May 27, 1960 at 3.00am soldiers left the barracks and seized the power for the first
but not the last time in the history of modern Turkey without firing a single bullet. These
predominantly young and officers of lower ranks took over the entire country within a few
hours. As Kemal Karpat noted, this intervention was an unprecedented act for the armed
forces departed from an ancient Ottoman tradition of influencing the Turkish politics (as
janissaries did) and took over the administration instead.64
Nevertheless, younger officers saw it differently and even though it was their first
coup they felt obliged to exercise their constitutional duty enshrined in the Article 34 of the
Militarys Internal Organisational Code. This Article, which was on January 4, 1961
incorporated in the Armed Forces Internal Service Law (Trk Silahl Kuvvetleri Hizmet
Kanunu) no. 211, states that militarys duty is to look after/watch for and protect [kollamak
63

People's House or Halkevi was an institution set up by the Atatrks CHP out of the need of enlightened and

educated population. Halkevleri were to provide facilities for all-round education, for men and women, old and
young, open to all without distinction of class or status. The activities included popular lessons and lectures,
social assistance, exhibitions, concerts and drama plays, etc. The Halkevi: The Turkish people's house.
Scottish Geographical Magazine 60 (1944): 21.
64

Kemal H. Karpat, Recent Political Developments in Turkey and Their Social Background, International

Affairs 38 (1962): 304, accessed February 28, 2013, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2609442

21

ve korumak] the Turkish homeland and the Republic as defined by the Constitution and
because (according to them) the Republic was being altered they felt that it is legally and
lawfully right to step in. Captain Muzaffer zda, later a member of the junta said:
If the administration in the country fails to provide leadership, if there is not a
constitutional court, a senate, who is going to defend the Republic? Naturally the
army. Those who established the first republic thought of the army as its sole
guarantor, and expressed this idea in Article 34 of the military organizational code. In
this sense the revolution is not only legal but also lawful.65
This Prussian relic66 then hung over the heads of the Turkish politicians for several
decades such as the sword hung over the Damocles head in ancient times.
Even though being it the first it was welcomed with a relief. However, as the popular
vote on the constitution, drafted by the junta in 1961, showed the support was not as
overwhelming as it could have seemed in the largest cities. People from the countryside
affected by the golden years cared less about events having taking place in Ankara and
Istanbul in the late 1950s. Thus, unlike the constitutional referendum of 1982 approved by
91.37% of the votes, the draft constitution of 1961 was approved only by 61.7% of the
votes.67

Grivances
As for the corporate grievances, it seems that it had been a decline of officers prestige
i.e. their collective self-esteem and the declining political position role of the armed forces in
the society that set the entire revolutionary process among military personnel in motion.
Nevertheless, it can be assumed that it was also the desire to reclaim the political
position that had been maintained by the state bureaucracy in late Ottoman era (and in the
new Republic as well) and the Armed Forces. With the lack of aristocratic and bourgeois

65

Kemal H. Karpat, Studies on Turkish Politics and Society: Selected Articles and Essays (Leiden Boston:

Brill, 2004) 252.


66

This article was borrowed from the Prussian military code. Karpat, Studies on Turkish Politics and Society,

252.
67

Rabia Bahar ste and Berrin Gzel, Referendums and E-Voting in Turkey. International Journal of E-

Business and E-Government Studies 3 (2011), 151.

22

classes in the Ottoman Empire the army and state bureaucrats formed a coalition pushing
forward the modernization process that later resulted in the birth of the Republic. The modern
Turkish Republic, however it declared the opposite, inherited many features from the
Ottoman Empire and the unity of state bureaucracy and army as the state elite was one of
them.68
However, social changes, such as population growth after the World War II and
Menderes reforms bore a new union of large landlords, religious officials and the DP. This
peripheral union was seen by the military elite as a counterrevolutionary in a Kemalist
sense and thus a threat their elitist postion.
The formation of the group, which planned and carried out the 1960 coup, seems to
have started as early as in 1955 when two young officers, Dndar Seyhan and Faruk
Gventrk, began to form a cell of radically-minded officers. The following lines suggest that
corporate positional grievances (honour) were in particular deep that first intention was to
name the group Society for the Restoration and Respect (ade-i tibar Cemiyeti). The
following words from an officer and one of the founders of the first organizations seem to
confirm this assumption:
The prestige of the army was declining. Money seemed to have become everything.
An officer no longer had status in society. It hurt me to see officers forced to take jobs
of all kinds and wear civilian clothes and feel proud in them. ... I was on leave in Izmir
with a friend at a restaurant filled with well-heeled politicians and businessmen who
received adulation and respect while we were ignored. I looked at my friend and told
him that things could not go on like this. ... It was not that we needed money, for
officers had always been ill-paid. But we had had honour and respect in the past. Now
these were gone. I asked my friend what we were waiting for and he nodded
significantly. I soon discovered that most of my colleagues shared my feelings. From
there on the question was one of organisation, planning, and waiting for the right
moment to act since the Democrats had already prepared the groundwork of the
Revolution.69

68

Erhat Umit Ozkan, Creation of Modern Nation State, Multiculturalism in Turkey, accessed April 21, 2013,

http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/acd/re/k-rsc/lcs/kiyou/18-3/RitsIILCS_18.3pp.59-77ozkan.pdf
69

Kemal H. Karpat, Studies on Turkish Politics and Society, 247.

23

Nevertheless, they decided to call themselves the Revolutionary Committee, or just the
Committee and expanded their activities throughout 1957 and 1958. The Ankara group
formed at the end of 1956 by Talat Aydemir, Osman Koksal, Sezai Okan and Adnan
elikolu, and Istanbul committee decided to merge their networks in 1958.70
The Constitution of 1961 also confirms the political position concern as the
constitution established the National Security Council (Mill Gvenlik Kurulu, MGK) a
political body that consisted of high military personnel and the highest executive. This
institution was from now on to discuss the national security threats and declare them to the
Cabinet. MGK was also to assist in the decision-making process and provide coordination.
Moreover, the officers also secured their families with affordable food by creation of Military
cooperatives (ORKO) and the dignity of their retired fellow soldiers by establishing the
Armed Forces Assistance Agency (Ordu Yardmlama Kurumu, OYAK).
Therefore, the condition of corporate positional grievances is present.

Table 1: Real Wages, Consumer Price Index, and Inflation in Istanbul, 1952-2006.
130%
110%
90%
70%
50%
30%

-10%

1952
1954
1956
1958
1960
1962
1964
1966
1968
1970
1972
1974
1976
1978
1980
1982
1984
1986
1988
1990
1992
1994
1996
1998
2000
2002
2004
2006

10%

-30%
Real Wages

CPI

Inflation in Istanbul

Source: T.C. Babakanlk Devlet statistik Enstits

70

Cihat Gktepe, 1960 "Revolution" In Turkey And The British Policy Towards Turkey, 146.

24

Inflation at the end of 1950s


Due to the fact that Turkey became consumer-oriented society dependent on imports
caused that imports exceeded exports by more than a billion dollars in the late 1950s and
Turkey did not have enough of its hard currency to pay its foreign debt. Menderess politics of
turning Turkey into kk Amerika71 by creating her mahallede ve kyde bir milyoner

72

was

in rubble. Indeed, foreign loans that followed Marshall Plan did spark economics at the
beginning of the 1950s.
However, bad crops, urbanisation, and growth of the population that was much faster
than the growth of the agriculture sector resulting in e.g. 20% less rice and 10% wheat and
barley in 1959/60 than in 1958/59.73 Moreover, the checks for foreign debt were overdue.
Not only did this mean no imported consumer goods but also empty shelves at grocery stores.
Lacking hard currency Turkey was unable to import food that was missing and thus
compensate for the shortage. Very soon Turkey started lacking staple foods. Shortening,
butter, cheese, and even the famous coffee, disappeared from the shelves by the end of 1958.74
Foreign countries, namely the biggest creditor the United States, in order to make the
Turkish Lira valuable again, pushed Menderess government to devaluate the currency for the
parity set in 1946 of the Turkish Lira at 2.8 to the U.S. dollar was not corresponding to the
current situation.75 In July 1958, the Western powers offered Menderes 359 million dollars
and the consolidation of Turkey's 400 million dollar debt76 in exchange for a better exchange

71

Tur. little America

72

Tur. a millionaire in every village and quarter

73

The State of Food and Agriculture, 1960, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations,

accessed April 23, 2013, http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/ap648e/ap648e.pdf.


74

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 82.

75

Mkerrem Hi, and Ayen Hi Gencer, Turkish Economy and Politics. From 1923, the Foundation of the

Republic until 2002. (Istanbul: Beykent University Press, 2009) 106.


76

Hikmet zdemir, The Turkish-American Relations Toward 1960 Turkish "revolution," in The Turkish

Yearbook of Internatioanl Relations, ed. lhan Uzgel, Atay Akdeveliolu, Nuri Yeilyurt (Ankara: Ankara
University Press, 1960), 172.

25

rate. Menderes had no other option than to accept and in August of 1960 the rate leaped from
initial 2.8 to 9 Turkish Liras for a dollar overnight.77
As a consequence the inflation rose from 8% in July to 25% in December 1958 and
rose by seven percentage points to 32% in July 1959 it dropped down to 17% by the end of
the year. The trend continued until the coup of 1960 in May when inflation fell to 12%.
However, the annual inflation passed the critical threshold of 20%78 only in 1959 therefore
this condition is not present.

Success of 1960
As stated in the introduction, a successful coup is a removal of the recognized chief
executive which was preceded or is accompanied by the threat to use, display or actual use of
force. This coup was, without a doubt a great success, the Armed Forces took over the entire
country within a few hours without firing a single bullet. The military step-in from 1960
was largely welcomed for it ended the severe measures the DPs government had put upon the
people. The Democratic Party was banned from the politics and Prime Minister Adnan
Menderes, together with President Bayar and many other DP politicians were imprisoned and
later tried on Yasiada, an island not very far away from Istabul. The DP elite received heavy
prison sentences. Prime Minister Menderes together with Minister Fatin Rt Zorlu and
Minister Hasan Polatkan two ministers were hanged. President Bayar was only pardoned due
to his deteriorating health.
In conclusion, the coup of 1960 is considered a success as the chief executive was
removed from the office after the use of force.

77

Kurlar-Dviz Kurlar (Gnlk). (USD) ABD Dolar, Trkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankas, accessed April

19, 2013, http://evds.tcmb.gov.tr/cgibin/famecgi?cgi=$ozetweb&DIL=TR&ARAVERIGRUP=bie_dkdovizgn.db.


78

Statistical

Indicators

1923-2011,

Turkish

Statistical

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.

26

Institute,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

The abortive coups of 1962 1963


Anti-system parties
The late 1960s witnessed a huge and rapid increase of socio-economic unrest and
political turmoil for the new constitution drafted by the National Union Committee was more
liberal than the earlier ones. The reason for that was to prevent the situation from the 1950s
and to prevent the return of the undemocratic era. The granting of extensive rights to civil
society made it possible for people to first organise themselves around different political
ideologies. Additionally, the simple majority electoral system in multimember constituencies
was changed into proportional representation using dHondt method in order to prevent the
tyranny of parliamentarian majority.
However, this new electoral system made it difficult for political parties to win the
absolute parliamentary majority and forced them to look for coalition partners. Consequently,
even though nns CHP was the strongest party between 1961 and 1965, it was unable to
form a government alone. Hence, CHP first formed a big coalition with its rival and a DP
successor party the Justice Party (Adalet partisi, AP). Nevertheless, their animosities
prevented them from common governance soon. It was their different economic and political
outlook that made this coalition last only seven months before it fell apart.79
However, the elections of 1961 introduced new relevant parties into the Turkish
political system. The first was center-right New Turkey Party (Yeni Trkiye Partisi, YTP) and
right wing Republican Peasant Nation Party (Cumhuriyeti Kyl Millet Partisi, CKMP). The
YTP was like the aforementioned Justice Party a successor party of the DP. Nevertheless,
YTP included the anti-Menderes and anti-Bayar DP lower rank politicians while the majority
was in the Justice Party. Unlike other parliamentary parties, the CKMP was a new party
formed following a merger between two minor parties.
It is obvious that the grievances of the Turkish society were not as deep as at the end
of the 1960s as 96.3% people voted in the elections of 1961 and identified itself (largely)
either with the DP or CHP (together more than 2/3 of all votes).80 Moreover, the new
electoral system introduced two more relevant parties in 1961 none of them was an antisystem one. Therefore, the condition of the anti-system party is not present
79
80

Mkerrem Hi, and Ayen Hi Gencer, Turkish Economy and Politics, 43.
Statistical

Indicators

1923-2011,

Turkish

Statistical

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.

27

Institute,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

Grievances
Unlike in the Turkish society where there was no popular reaction to the overthrow of
Adnan Menderes government, the situation in the army was somehow different as some
officers were not satisfied with the outcomes of the coup of 1960. As Kalaycolu claims,
there emerged two irreconcilable tendencies in the ranks of the armed forces. The first
segment thought that the 1960 coup was not over yet, or as Captain Muzaffer zda said,
they were forced to go further than Atatrk, and complete what he left uncompleted.81 The
other wanted to help consolidate parliamentary democracy. The former seemed to be
motivated by socialist ideas intertwined with ardent ethnic nationalism. It also seemed as if
this part of the armed forces, represented by an ambitious colonel Talat Aydemir, had held
beliefs that democracy needed to be postponed for an indefinite period of time.82
Meanwhile, a parallel group of lower rank officers emerged under a name of the Union
of Armed Forces (Silahl Kuvvetler Birlii, SKB) being unsatisfied with the performance of
the official junta i.e. the National Unity Committee (Mill Birlik Komitesi, MBK). Its goal was
to balance the MBK since the power within the MBK was held mostly by the land army which
held almost 95% of seats whilst other branches of the military held considerably less power. 83
Talat Aydemir together with Dndar Seyhan, two of the main figures of the Revolutionary
Committee saw a unique chance of expressing their own views via SKB since they, for having
gone to Korea in 1959, were left out the original National Unity Committee. Together with
other hard-liners in SKB planned a new coup that would install their 25-man junta and would
apply reforms which the 27 May failed to realise. Nevertheless, this plan was accepted only
under one condition the coup would only go ahead if the senior commanders give their
approval to it which they did not. Moreover, the commanders started removing the
prospective rebels from crucial positions. Fearing to be later arrested and tried, Aydemir and
Seyhan decided to go into action at 3.00pm on February 22, 1962. He, as a Commandant at
the Turkish Military Academy (Kara Harp Okulu, KHO) in Ankara, led a group of loyal
cadets. They were joined by the Gendarmerie College, the Tank Battalion, and some other
units. However, the support was limited only to Ankara. As the sun set, Aydemir and his
myrmidons realised the situation is a stale mate. In order to avoid a potential bloodshed nn
81

Andrew Finkel and Nkhet Sirman, Turkish State, Turkish Society (New York: Routledge, 1990), 60.

82

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 98.

83

Army 32 seats , air force three, navy two, and gendarmerie one seat. Kemal Karpat, Studies on Turkish Politics

and Society: Selected Articles and Essays. p. 258

28

contacted the rebels at 1.20am and gave them his word that they would not be court-martialed
if they put down their weapons. Aydemir and his accomplices capitulated at 6.20am.
They were all pardoned and let go home for the Prime Minister nn adhered to his promise
he had given them earlier that day. The only punishment was the retirement of all the rebels
that took part in the coup attempt. 84
Nevertheless, Kurmay Albay85 Talat Aydemir, the enfant terrible of the Turkish
Armed Forces, rolled out of the barracks once again, this time on May 21, 1963. Although
having been discharged from the military, Aydemir was still fairly popular among War
Academy cadets. At 00.00 the operation broke out under a secret harbiyeli86codename. Soon
after this signal a group of insurgents seized the Ankara radio station and aired Aydemirs
confident communiqu that heard as follows:
Attention! You are now listening to the Revolutionary General Headquarters of the
Turkish Armed Forces! 87
However, a nearby living Lieutenant-Colonel Ali Elverdi having heard this announcement
waited for no commands and rushed immediately to the radio station. Elverdi overcame the
rebels roadblocks and single-handedly recaptured the radio station.
Even though there were no troops at a standby ready to storm the rebels it worked.
Colonels brothers in arms fell for this trick and right after this counter-communiqu one
officer after another started leaving the revolutionary base at the War Academy. At 8.00am
Aydemir and a handful of the faithful realized that the situation is hopeless and left their
headquarters at the Kara Harp Okulu and left for their homes in taxis. Later that day they at
noon, they were all arrested. Unlike in 1962 when nn feared a possible bloodshed they
were tried and in most cases received heavy prison sentences. Talat Aydemir together with
Fethi Grcan, were hanged in 1963.88
Thus, Aydemirs coup attempts were not driven corporate interests but by his own
interests for the Armed Forces succeeded and strengthen their position in the system by
84

Finkel and Sirman, Turkish State, Turkish Society, 67.

85

Tur. Staff Colonel

86

Tur. cadet

87

nay Yilmaz, 'Malubiyetimizin sebebi radyodur'. Radikal, May 28, 2010, accessed April 29, 2013,

http://www.radikal.com.tr
88

Finkel and Sirman, Turkish State, Turkish Society, 68.

29

creating the aforementioned MGK, OYAK, and ORKO whilst he himself even though he had
been one of the coup plotters in the late 1950s was left out.
Therefore, the condition of corporate positional grievances is not present.

Inflation at the Beginning of the 1960s


The constitution of 1961 introduced The State Planning Organization (Devlet
Planlama Tekilat, DPT)89 entitled with a five-year economy-wide planning in order to
protect the Turkish economy by limiting the imports and encouraging exports, the strategy of
the import-substitution industrialization (ISI)90 The ISI economic policy introduced by the
resulted in a calmer economic situation. The inflation following the coup of 1960 dropped to
1.3% in 1961. Even though it later rose to 3.8% and 6.5% in 1962 and 1963 respectively it
was until 1971 when it crossed the critical threshold of 20% again (see Table 1). As a
consequence, the condition of high inflation was not present either in 1962 or in 1963.
Therefore, the condition of high inflation is not present.

Past coups experience


The first coup from 1962 and the second from 1963 came only after three years after
the previous one. According to the hypothesis stated in the introduction there should have
been a great chance in succeeding in 1963 and even greater in 1962 as. Nevertheless, the
condition is present, since the coup attempt of 1962 and 1963 happened only two and three
years after the coup of 1960 respectively.

89

In 2011 reorganized as the Ministry of Development.

About us, Republic of Turkey. Ministry of

Development, accessed April 10, 2013, http://www.mod.gov.tr.


90

An economic theory employed by developing or emerging market nations that wish to increase their self-

sufficiency and decrease their dependency on developed countries. Implementation of the theory focuses on
protection and incubation of domestic infant industries so they may emerge to compete with imported goods and
make the local economy more self-sufficient. Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), Investopedia,
accessed January 29, 2013, www.investopedia.com.

30

Success
Not only did Talat Aydemir not succeeded in toppling the government he was later
even imprisoned and hanged. Aydemir was unable to remove the chief executive even though
he both displazed and used force (as several shots were fired). Therefore, the outcome of both
coup attempts of 1962 and 1963 is failure i.e. success is not present.

Coup of 1971
Anti-system parties
The electoral system introduced in 1961 was once more amended before the elections
of 1965. The district quota (Hare) introduced in 1961 elections was changed. From now on
the wasted votes were transferred to the national district were they were allocated to
reminding seats. As a result, not only was this electoral system the most proportionate in the
modern Turkish history it also gave birth to a majority government of the Justice Party. 91
Surprisingly, the AP aimed at changing the electoral system even though it enabled
them to form a majority government. The reason why Justice Party did not favour this system
is that it was not their idea and it favoured smaller parties.
Even though the AP, having secured its position by changing the electoral system, won the
majority in the Turkish parliament the elections of 1965 witnessed a new phenomenon the
emergence of the Workers Party of Turkey (Trkiye i Partisi, TP) the Turkish first
genuine anti-system party.
As said above, The National Union Committee by liberalising the new regime in 1961
let also for the first in the modern Turkish history the socialist organisations and parties
emerge.92 Political groups that would not be allowed to be established in the 1950s, being it
social democrats, trade unionists, or Marxists, occurred, and began to criticise the Turkish
system for its class inequalities, while also questioning the domination of the West. 93
The first and only socialist party of this era was the aforementioned Workers Party of
Turkey. Even though there were countless of other groups, associations, etc. they were,

91

Ersin Kalayciolu, Elections and Governance, in Politics, Parties, and Elections in Turkey, ed. Sabri Sayari

and Ylmaz Esmer (Boulder-London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002), 60.


92

Only The Communist Party of Turkey (Trkiye Komnist Partisi, TKP) founded in 1920 stayed outlawed.

93

The anti-American sentiment in particular was very strong.

31

however, not able to unite themselves due to clashes between numerous ideological and
political concepts.94
The leader of the TP Ali Aybar held unlike the other party faction that National
democratic revolution and socialistic revolution are indivisible and that pursuit of a socialist
revolution would lead to the national liberation. Aybar explained his concept by stating that:
... In present-day Turkey the struggle for independence and democracy has become
transformed into the struggle for socialism. The party of the working class and of all
labouring people the TP is fighting for this in the most decisive and consistent
fashion. In Turkey the struggle for independence is united with struggle for
socialism. 95

However, fragmentation caused by ideological disputes, translations of Marx, Engels


and Lenin, foreign political events such as Maos Cultural Revolution, revolutionary struggles
(e.g. Cuba), the student revolts in the West in 1968 also radicalized these fragments. As a
result the, not being able to mobilize its supporters received only 2.7% in the elections of
1969. The TPs failure was understood as a failure of a strategy to pursue socialism by
democratic means. The groups that sprang out (mainly) from at the end of the 1970s,
perceived TPs strategy and tactics ineffective. New groups, recruiting mainly from DevGen96 believed that only way is terror.
Furthermore, another relevant but ideologically distant party emerged at the end of the
1960s and were successful in getting enough votes in the elections of 1969. Alparslan
Turke, one of the leading figures of the coup of 196097 founded a far-right Nationalist Action
Party (Milliyeti Hareket Partisi, MHP). The MHP was putting forward an ultranationalist,
anti-communist (or anti-left in general), ethno-Turkish or pro-lahasmt98agenda.

94

Igor Lipovsky, The Socialist Movement in Turkey: 1960-1980 (Leiden: Brill, 1992), 96-97.

95

Ibid., 34.

96

Revolutionary Youth Federation of Turkey (Trkiye Devrimci Genlik Federasyonu) was a group that

associated much of the left-wing revolutionary (mainly university) youth of that time and where the main radical
left-wing parties and terrorist organizations sprouted from.
97

It was Turke who read the announcement of the power seizure by the military in 1960 on the Turkish radio.

98

Lahasmt is an abbreviation of a secular Hanefi Sunni Muslim Turk (laik Hanefi Snni Mslman Trk). The

term was coined by a Turkish political scientist and politician Baskn Oran.

32

Even though the first anti-system parties entered the Turkish political arena for the first time
none of them was a relevant party. Neither the TP nor the MHP were able to cross 3% in
national elections and the AP was able to rule from 1965 until the memorandum of 1971
alone. Therefore, the condition of an anti-system party is not present.

Grievances
The rise of left-wing terrorism namely perpetrated by the two most notorious groups
the Turkish People's Liberation Front (Trkiye Halk Kurtulu Ordusu-Cephesi, THKP-C) and
the Turkish People's Liberation Army (Trkiye Halk Kurtulu Ordusu, THKO) together with
students mass protests, strikes and clashes between police and trade unions must have
reminded the Armed Forces Ali Faik Cihans lines from his book The Socialist Turkey:
The sound is beginning to be heard of the march of millions of feet.99
This time, it was mostly the Turkish armed Forces political postion in the system that they
were afraid of. Radical-left groups in the society would definitely disrupt the status quo they
acquired after the coup of 1960. Nihat Erim, prime minister during the military interregnum,
indirectly confirmed they feared the communist revolution:
The situation which had worsened gradually after 1963, entered a new phase in 1968
when student protests degenerated into armed fights between rightist and leftist
extremists. Professional agents, trained armed and directed from outside Turkey, were
able to transform some leftist student organizations into urban guerrilla units, ...
preparing for the establishment of a Communist Peoples Republic of Turkey.100
Recently declassified confidential documents of the U.S. Department of State also show the
Armed Forces disapproval of the APs desire to amend the Constitution of 1961 in 1969 and
thus let the old DP elite in the political arena again. The intelligence information cable from
May 19, 1969 states that several meetings between the government and the military took place
and it had been decided within the Turkish General Staff to assume control of the government
of Turkey if the legislation is passed on May 20, 1969. Meanwhile, all political leaders,

99

Ali Faik Cihan, Sosyalist Trkiye (Ankara: Toplum Yaynevi, 1965), 175.

100

Dietrich Jung, and Wolfgango Piccoli, Turkey at the crossroads: Ottoman legacies and a greater Middle East

(London: Zed Books, 2001), 92.

33

including Prime Minister Demirel, were notified that the military would act on the night of
20/21 May.101
The further anxiety and corporate grievances were later encapsulated in the following
three-point text written by Chief of General Staff General Memduh Tama expressing the
fear of the military that the current government is not strong enough to avert the going
anarchy. The text was given to President Cevdet Sunay on March 12, 1971 and read on the
radio at 1.00pm.
1. The parliament and the Government, through their sustained policies, views and
actions, have driven our country into anarchy, fratricidal strife, and social and
economic unrest. They have caused the public to lose all hope of rising to the level of
contemporary civilization which was set for us by Atatrk as a goal, and have failed to
realize the reforms stipulated by the Constitution. The future of the Turkish Republic is
therefore seriously threatened.
2. The assessment by the Parliament, in a spirit above partisan considerations, of the

solutions needed to eliminate the concern and to eliminate the concern and
disillusionment of the Turkish Armed Forces, which have sprung from the bosom of
the Turkish nation, over this grave situation; and the formation, within the context of
democratic principles, of a strong and credible government, which will neutralize the
current anarchical situation and which, inspired by Atatrks views, will implement the
reformist laws envisaged by the Constitution, are considered essential.
3. Unless this is done quickly, the Turkish Armed Forces are determined to take over the
administration of the State in accordance with the powers vested in them by the laws to
protect and preserve the Turkish Republic.
Please be informed.102

101

Foreign Relations of the United States, 19691976. Volume Xxix, Eastern Europe; Eastern Mediterranean,

19691972,

Document

423,

U.S.

Department

of

State,

accessed

April

22,

2013,

http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v29/d423.
102

Ergun zbudun, Contemporary Turkish Politics: Challenges to Democratic Consolidation (London: Lynne

Rienner, 2000), 33-34.

34

Past coups experience


This coup happened approximately eleven years later after the first coup in the modern
Turkish history therefore the condition is present. Moreover, the Parliament was dissolved
after the chief of General Staff General Memduh Tama delivered the Armed Forces
memorandum to the Parliament. Once again, there was no popular upheaval against this
move, no shots were fired.

Success of 1971
The Parliament was called for an extraordinary meeting on a Saturday morning March
13, 1971 so that the memorandum could be read. After the memorandum had been read in the
Grand National Assembly and only Hasan Korkmazcan from the AP opposed it the Prime
Minister Sleyman Demirel realized that there was nothing else to do than to leave so he
replied with a laconic apkam alr giderim103 and left the Parliament. In other words, the
chief executive resigned to the military after threat to use force. Hence, this coup was a
success.

Inflation
The annual inflation at the end of the 1970s never got higher than 7%. Even the
inflation of 1970 was relatively low 11.80%. Usually, inflation drops after a coup is staged
as it did for instance after the coup of 1960 due to measures usually taken by junta to mitigate
economic difficulties but in 1971. Surprisingly, inflation almost doubled five after the coup to
25%.104 (see Table 1).
Even though the constitution of 1961 introduced The State Planning Organization
(Devlet Planlama Tekilat, DPT)105 entitled with a five-year economy-wide planning, the
Turkish economy was once again facing balance of payments problems such as at the end of

103
104

Tur. I am taking my hat and leaving.


Statistical

Indicators

1923-2011,

Turkish

Statistical

Institute,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.
105

In 2011 reorganized as the Ministry of Development.

Development, accessed April 10, 2013, http://www.mod.gov.tr.

35

About us, Republic of Turkey. Ministry of

the 1950s. The strategy of closed economy, import-substitution industrialization (ISI)106 with
fixed exchange rates having been implemented in order to restrict the influx of imports and
encourage the exports, did not solve the prevailing problems. Consequently, this
interventionist and protectionist strategy led to over-valued currency, quantitative import
restrictions particularly on consumer goods, high custom taxes, and export premiums to
alleviate export difficulties in view of low foreign exchange rates. In sum, there was not
enough hard currency to pay for the foreign debt as lira was not as valuable, to pay for the
imports in general.107 Consequently, Demirels government, in order to avert an approaching
payment crisis, introduced an IMF-supported stabilization program in August 1970, involving
leap devaluation.108

106

An economic theory employed by developing or emerging market nations that wish to increase their self-

sufficiency and decrease their dependency on developed countries. Implementation of the theory focuses on
protection and incubation of domestic infant industries so they may emerge to compete with imported goods and
make the local economy more self-sufficient. Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), Investopedia,
accessed January 29, 2013, www.investopedia.com.
107

Hi, and Gencer, Turkish Economy and Politics, 82.

108

Merih Celsun and Dani Rodrik, Turkish Economic Development: An Overview, in Developing Country

Debt and Economic Performance, Volume 3. Country Studies -Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Turkey, ed. Jeffrey
D. Sachs and Susan M. Collins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 621.

36

The Coup of 1980


Anti-system parties
The Turkish politics and society changed very little after the coup of 1971. The society
and politics were further mutually affecting each other and together further fragmenting and
polarizing each other. Fragmented and polarized party politics together with proportional
representation greatly influenced the party politics of the 1970s. New electoral formula
enabled several other political parties enter the National Assembly.
To illustrate the politically difficult situation in the National Assembly in the 1970s
one need not to look further but at the situation right after the elections of 1973. The very first
elections after the military memorandum sent to the National Assembly in 1973 now left-ofthe-centre, secular and pro-modern CHP109and CHPs biggest opponent, archenemy, and a
successor party of the DP from the 1950s the Justice Party (Adalet Partisi, AP). Among the
new political parties was another anti-system and also the first genuinely Islamist party The
National Salvation Party (Milli Selamet Partisi, MSP) founded by Professor Necmettin
Erbakan in 1972. Although, the very first Islamist party was the National Order Party (Milli
Nizam Partisi, MNP) from 1971, however, it was ephemeral for it was banned after the
military coup in 1971. The MSP was a revivalist, and thus anti-secular and anti-modern party.
To top it all, the conservative offshoot of the Justice Party the Democratic Party (Demokratik
Parti, DemP) received 11.9% of votes whilst former CHP members having not agreed upon
the partys new political inclination broke away and formed The Republicanist Reliance Party
(Cumhuriyeti Gven Partisi, CGP) and received 5.3%.110
As there were many parties and none of them was able to form a majority government
they were forced to form coalition governments. Coalition governments would not be ipso
facto problematic; however, personal animosities between party leaders, ideological distance
and from that stemming a lack of consensus produced seven governments during seven years
(1973-1980) with an average duration of 346 days.111 Sometimes was it not only impossible to
form a government but also to receive a vote of confidence from the National Assembly such

109

CHP was at that time moving towards the western style social democratic concept.

110

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 96.

111

Kalayciolu, Elections and Governance, 66.

37

as in 1974 when Sadi Irmaks government stayed in power for more than four months even
though 358 out of 450 deputies were against his government.112
The first try to form a government came from the CHP as it was the winner of the
elections, although the victory was a Pyrrhic victory. It took CHP 104 days to form a coalition
that lasted less than a year for the only partner that was willing join them was the Islamic
MSP. However, the ideological distance was too wide and the coalition broke away. This
experience helped MSP a lot to get rid of their stigmatisation and was from now on a possible
coalition partner. Now it was the APs time to try forming a government. After approximately
four

months

of

negotiation

new

government

named

National

Front

(Milliyeti Cephe Hkmeti) consisting of the MSP, the AP, and MHP with the AP leader
Sleyman Demirel as the prime minister. Although talking about coalition is not very precise
because the style of their governance was not based on a mutual cooperation, negotiation, and
common stance. Every member of The National Front received its ministerial positions and
ruled them separately. Essentially, there were three governments putting forward their three
agendas at the same time and when there was need for cooperation the government as whole
was deadlocked. Thus, every party followed its agenda and used state resources to boost their
support by allocating state recourses and hiring the loyal to the respective state institutions
they had under control or influence. In this manner Islamists and ultranationalists infiltrated
state bureaucracy.113 It was in this era when MHP placed its supporters in the security
apparatus and MSP tried to put through many religious-concerning bills such as moving a day
off from Sunday to Friday, as it is in other Muslim countries, or making an insult of Allah,
whether verbal or in behavioural, a felony. With some proposals they succeeded. The number
of religious officials increased as well as the time reserved for religious broadcasts on state
radio increased which MSP used to target gambling, obscenity, drinking and selling of
alcohol.114
Nevertheless, a new wave of violence broke out and together with high oil prices
caused by the global oil crisis swept this government away in 1977. CHP won once again and
was even able to expand their share of votes in the National Assembly. On the other hand, the
112

Ibid., 65-66.

113

Ersin Kalayciolu, Elections and Governance, 114.

114

Jacob M. Landau, Turkey between Secularism and Islam, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

The Jerusalem

Letter and Jerusalem

Letter/Viewpoints

http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp352.htm.

38

(1997),

accessed

April

22,

2013,

was not, once again, enough to form a majority government and after he had not received a
vote of confidence the Second National Front (kinci Milliyeti Cephe Hkmeti) with
Demirel once again as the prime minister. Unlike the first National Front, the second one
lasted only about six months115 since several months after the elections 11 deputies left the AP
ranks and joined the CHP. In this manner, Ecevit was able to form his own government
which, however, acted as a coalition of CHP and 11 other parties for each of the former AP
deputy became a minister and behaved as if they were leaders of 11 different parties. In 1979,
after unsuccessful elections to Senate, Blent Ecevit stepped down and president Krtrk
appointed Sleyman Demirel once again as a prime minister of Turkey. Demirel formed a
minority government with support of MSP and MHP and stayed in power until the coup of
1980.116
In sum, the condition of anti-system parties between is present as both the MHP and
the MSP were relevant and formed the coalition governments several times. Their acting
when in power was as if there were separate parties in power and not a consensual coalition
and every time there was a need for joint decision the coalition was deadlocked. Therefore,
these governments were used by the far-right MHP and the Islamist MSP to boost their
support by allocating state resources to their supporters. In other words, these ant-szstem
parties only bit a big chunk out of the state resources while the responsible and consensual
politics were needed.

Grievances of 1980
Such as at the end of 1960s and the end of 1970s the country was in chaos for not
only did two anti-system parties enter the Turkish assembly they also participated in several
governments which legitimized them and their extra-parliamentary activities. In this manner,
the MHP used its ministries to support their far-right extremists known as Grey Wolves
(Bozkurtlar) and the MSP to support their religious groupings accordingly. The
aforementioned far-right groupings understood themselves as protectors of the indivisibility
of the Turkish republic and in this manner not only did they attack radical left but also Alevis

115

Ersin Kalayciolu, Elections and Governance, 66.

116

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 114.

39

and Kurds such as in Mara in 1978 where there were hundreds of Alevis slaughtered.117
Surprisingly, the MSPs Raiders Organization (Aknclar Tekilat) did not take part in the
ongoing violence. Nevertheless, they did take part in a disturbing of public order such as in
Konya in 1980 where they organized a Saving Jerusalem rally to protest against Israels
decision to proclaim Jerusalem as its capital city. The demonstrators dressed in traditional
Muslim robes and turbans, holding green flags were marching through the city of Konya
shouting, i.a., Rebellion to the system, Sharia or death, We are ready for jihad, We
want unlimited, classless Islamic state.118
Moreover, Turkey also witnessed new wave of red terror in 1970s that was
incomparable with anything the modern Turkish republic has ever experienced. Even though,
the radical-left terrorism fell silent from 1972 to 1974 for their members were either hanged119
or killed by police in 1972120 it was resurrected by the amnesty of 1974. The amnesty freed a
lot of left-wing radicals from the 1960s which gave life to a new wave of radical-left
violence. Furthermore, as the old Marxist-Leninist guerrilla groups were being resurrected
they were joined by new groupings such as Armenian Secret Army of Liberation of Armenia
(ASALA), and Kurdish separatist and Marxist-Leninist The Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya
Karkern Kurdistan, PKK).
Soon after the spiral of violence drove country in chaos and the average number of
people killed a day soon reached 25.121 Unlike at the end of the 1960s, this time not only did
the terror plague the big cities and university campuses but the entire country due to a massive
spread of radio and TV broadcast. Consequently, whole cities and city quarters all around the
country were divided into various camps fighting each other. Some cities, as for instance

117

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Why was the commemoration for the Mara massacre banned? Today's Zaman,

December 25, 2012, accessed February 28, 2013, http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-302207-why-was-thecommemoration-for-the-maras-massacre-banned.html.


118

Banu Eligur, The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010),

87-88.
119

e.g. THKO top members Deniz Gezmi, Yusuf Aslan and Huseyin Inan were hanged on May 6, 1972.

120

e.g. a THKP-C top member Mahir Cayan.

121

4,500 dead and more than 15,000 injured in total between 1975 and 1980. Sabri Sayari, Generational

Changes in Terrorist Movements: The Turkish Case (Sanata Monica: The Rand Corporation, 1985), 15.

40

citizens of a Black Sea town of Fatsa decided in 1979 to boycott the central government in
Ankara and govern themselves directly through neighbourhood committees and meetings.122
Accordingly, this time not only was the Turkish Armed Forces afraid of the communists but
also other radicals who could possibly destroy the Republic they inherited i.e. they were
once again afraid of their political position within the system. In December 1979, Evren wrote
a letter to president Krtrk, warning bluntly that:
Our nation no longer has the patience for people who sing the communist
international instead of our national anthem; who invite the Sharia; who want to bring
all sorts of fascism by replacing the democratic regime; and who want anarchy,
destruction, and separatism by misusing freedoms that are provided by our
Constitution.123
As he later said after the coup on October 30, 1980 he was also afraid that the fragmentation
could plague and disintegrate the Armed Forces:
...they made the mistake of thinking they could infiltrate the Armed Forces, divide
them, and so realize their detestable goals.124
In order to prevent these things to happen again in the future, the role of the National
Security council was further strengthened. From now on it was a body with military majority
that was to deal with security concerns and after a discussion decide what to do and manifest
these conclusions to the Cabinet. The Cabinet was to put these manifestations on the top of its
agenda and put it in practise.
Therefore, the condition of corporate positional grievances is present in the coup 1980 as
well.

122

Yeseren Elicin, Social Capital, Leadership and Democracy: Rethinking Fatsa. International Journal of

Social Sciences and Humanity Studies 3 (2011): 516.


123

Eligur, The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey, 87.

124

Ibid., 88.

41

Inflation
The situation before the coup of 1980 was dramatically different than ever before. The
inflation had been high and volatile since 1972125, however, the steady rise in inflation started
in 1977. By the end of the year the inflation rose by approximately 31 percentage points from
16% in January to 47% in December. This steady growth stopped for moment at 72% in
august of 1978 and it fell later to numbers close to 50% for the next several months. However,
from June 1979 we observe a steady and steep increase of inflation reaching 82% at the end of
1979 and reaching 120% in March 1980.126
Moreover, such as at the end of the 1950s and 1960s the Turkish economy was once
again facing problems with balance of payments for the aforementioned interventionist and
protectionist strategy led, once again, to over-valued currency, quantitative import
restrictions, high custom taxes, and export premiums to alleviate export difficulties in view of
low foreign exchange rates. In sum, there was not enough hard currency again to pay for the
foreign debt as lira was not as valuable, to pay for the imports in general.127
To top it all, not only consumer goods, but also oil prices having increased fivefold between
1973-1975, iron and other raw and intermediary materials that Turkey was dependent on,
were scarce.128 These economic conditions together boosted black market and gave life to
high inflation at the end of the 1970s.

125

Yksel Grmez, and Serkan Yiit, The Economic and Financial Stability in Turkey: A Historical Perspective.

(paper prepared for the Fourth Conference of Southeast Europe Monetary History Network (SEEMHN),
http://www.nbs.rs/export/sites/default/internet/latinica/90/SEEMHNkonferencija/SEEMHN_15_Turska.pdf
126

Inflation Turkey 1980 (CPI), Inflation.eu, accessed Arpil 24, 2013, http://www.inflation.eu.

127

Hi, and Gencer, Turkish Economy and Politics, 82.

128

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 115.

42

Past coups
This time only years divided the coup from 1971 and the coup of 1980
and as in previous coups, the resistance to the military coup was slight, even though a great
deal of the Turkish society was heavily armed. There was only one incident during which an
army captain was machine-gunned in Adana, in south eastern Turkey. The reign of terror in
the society on one hand created an atmosphere in which some people welcomed the coup
whilst others deemed it necessary. The level of acceptance of the coup can be demonstrated
on the referendum that overwhelmingly approved the new military constitution with 91.37%
of the votes.

Success
Once again, the chief executive was removed after the use of force. Furthermore,
martial law was declared, thousands of people were imprisoned, radical political parties,
groups and their leaders were banned.

Coup of 1997
Anti-system parties
When the Armed forces took over the country in 1980 they banned all political figures
and parties from the 1970s for ten years in order not to let the history repeat itself. Old
cadres, however, soon regrouped under new names and through proxy leadership and joined
the Turgut zals Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi, ANAP). Former CHP partisans first
established the Social Democrat Party (Sosyal Demokrasi Partisi, SODEP) and Social
Democrat Populist Party (Sosyaldemokrat Halk Parti, SHP), respectively, which later
merged in 1995 with again lawful CHP. Blent Ecevit, feeiling left out, established his own
party under the Democratic Left Party (Demokratik Sol Partisi, DSP). The situation on the
right side of the political spectrum was very similar as two parties emerged. The first was the
aforementioned the Turgut zals Motherland Party and the other was a new Sleyman
Demirels the True Path Party (Doru Yol Partisi, DYP).129 Moreover, the aforementioned
anti-system Islamic and ultranationalist parties were restablished. The former was revived by
Professor Erbakan under a name of a Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, RP) whilst the latter was

129

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 132-133.

43

revived under a new name of Nationalist Work Party (Milliyeti alma Partisi, MP) but
later returned to the old MHP name when the retired Colonel Alparslan Trke became the
leader again.
Even though, the military had added a 10 percent national threshold to already existing
dHondt formula the desired effect of having only very few relevant parties did not occur.
Surprisingly, the Turkish political party system was experiencing a further fragmentation.
Furthermore, both parties and electorate started moving away from the ideological centre and
moving more towards right as the left in general was being devastated, i.a., by the events in
the Soviet camp, military suppression, and by a popular mistrust caused by the earlier
inability of capable governance. In sum, the Turkish party system found itself fragmentized
and polarized such as in the 1970s. Only this time the right a far-right pole was much
stronger.
After the elections of 1995 the most probable coalition of ANAP and DYP was formed.
Nevertheless, after 114 days the partnership ended as they were constantly accusing each
other of not being the genuine end legitimate successor of the Demirels original party and
trying to eradicate each other.130
To almost everyone's surprise, the next coalition was formed by Demirels DYP and
Erbakans Welfare Party. Once again, Erbakan happened to be in a government only this time,
having won the general elections with 21.4 %131 in December 1995, he became the Prime
Minister. Thus, Necmettin Erbakan happened to be the first Islamistic Prime Minister of
Turkey in history, a prime minister with an agenda combining Islamism with neo-Osmanism
an ideological revival of the old Ottoman glory and ideas of panturkism.132 Moreover,
Erbakan was known for his antipathy towards the European Union, claiming that it is a
joint Christian-Zionist project designed to assimilate and de-Islamize Turkey. In 1991 he
uttered the following condemnation:
I regard the application of Turkey for the full membership in the EC as treason to
our history, civilization, culture, and sovereignty.133
130

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 156.

131

Milletvekili

genel

seimi,

Trkiye

statistik

Kurumu

Bakanl,

accessed

July

22,

2013, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/secimdagitimapp/secim.zul.
132

Bassam Tibi, Turkeys Islamist Danger. Islamists Approach Europe. Middle East Quarterly,

http://www.meforum.org/2047/islamists-approach-europe#_ftn13
133

Necmettin Erbakan, Trkiye'nin temel meseleleri (Ankara: Rehber Yaynclk, 1991), 27.

44

Instead, he called for a closer economic cooperation with other Muslim countries as his
manifesto Milli Gr defines it.134 The National Outlook (Milli Gr) manifesto issued by
Necmettin Erbakan in

1975 spoke only in

the broadest sense of moral and religious

upbringing, but it also mentioned importance of industrialization, development and economic


independence warning against further rapprochement with Europe. Moreover, he also
suggested replacing capitalism with what he called a just economic order (Adil Ekonomik
Dzen), an alternative to both capitalism and socialism based on Islamic principles.
Hoca Erbakan maintained, as the following interview from 2010 proves, also his antiIsrael/anti-Israelis and anti-Semitic views until his death in 2011 when he said:
For 5,700 years the Jews have ruled the world. It is a rule of injustice, cruelty and
violence. They have a strong faith, a religion that tells them that they should rule the
world... They rule the world with the capitalist world order. (...) The state of Israel
would have never been founded under the Ottoman Empire. (...) The establishment of
Israel was the real goal of the crusades. ...if the Israelis want to live in peace it would
be better if they lived in e.g. America.135
Even though the Refah Partisi had obtained 21% in the 1995 elections it represented only a
minority of the population due to a fragmented political scene in Turkey at that time. The rest
of the society was scared by the Erbakan governments daring performance,136 his open call to
reinstate Sharia, such as he had expressed in his speech on April 13, 1994 when he said that:
Sharia or the Islamic regime would be brought to Turkey either by soft ways or by
shedding blood.

134

Bruinessen Martin van, Milli Gr in Western Europe (paper presented at the ISIM workshop, Leiden,

January

9,

2004).

http://www.let.uu.nl/~Martin.vanBruinessen/personal/conferences/Milli_Gorus_workshop_report.htm
135

"Erdogan ist ein Kassierer des Zionismus," Die Welt, November 8, 2010, accessed April 2, 2013,

http://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article10769062/Erdogan-ist-ein-Kassierer-des-Zionismus.html.
136

It should be noted here that in contrast to his rhetoric Erbakan was not really able to put through any really

revolutionary bills as he was still in a coalition with DYP and the secular checks and balances would not let it
come to life. National Security Council would advise them not to do it, the President would not sign it, and the
Constitutional Court would annul it.

45

Likewise, they were scared by the violent manifestation of intolerance against


minorities, such as the Sivas massacre137 of Alevis from July 1993138 in which several local
RP politicians played a major role and later escaped the prosecution.
Even though the Welfare Party recognised the significance of the customs union to the
Turkish economy, the party changed its policy and discourse towards the EU and the West
very little during this period. Moreover, Erbakan worked on his D-8 project that was supposed
to bring together and established an economic union of eight developing countries (hence the
name) with predominantly Muslim population.139 This project was supposed to be the first
step towards a cultural and political union among Muslim countries, a new world order that
would elevate justice above raw force (in international affairs). Refah Partisi, however, stirred
political waters the most with its religious proposal such as rearranging of working hours of
state servants in accordance with Islamic prayer times during the holy month of Ramazan and
with a proposal to let women wear an Islamic headscarf in State schools and buildings
occupied by public administrative authorities140 even though the law forbade it.141
Furthermore, on November 3, 1996, several months after the establishment of the RPDYP or the Refahyol,142 the coalition was shaken by a car accident that happened near a small
district town of Susurluk. A car loaded with weapons, silencers, fake IDs and ammunition
crashed accidentally into a truck and left three people dead on a spot and one passenger
seriously injured. Nonetheless, it was rather the company in the car that was of a wide interest
137

A central Anatolian town of Sivas witnessed an attack against a Madmak hotel where Alevis were taking part

in a cultural festival. More than 30 people burnt to death after an angry mob of religious extremists, surrounded
the hotel and set it ablaze, being infuriated by a presence of self-proclaimed atheist, and translator of Salman
Rushdies Satanic Verses, Aziz Nesin. The crowd shouting "the Republic began in Sivas, and in Sivas it will be
destroyed", "death to secularists", and "long live the Shariah", included also RP local politicians and later
defendants such as Ylmaz Ba or Cafer Erakmak, a top suspect and a member of the Sivas municipal
council who escaped and went into hiding. Suspect in 1993 Madmak Massacre dies after 14 years in hiding,
Hrriyet Daily News, July 11, 2011, accessed April 12, 2013, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com.
138

Michelangelo Guida, The New Islamists Understanding of Democracy in Turkey: the Examples of Ali

Bula and Hayreddin Karaman, Turkish Studies 11 (2010): 350.


139
140

D-8 includes Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Saban Taniyici, Transformation of Political Islam in Turkey : Islamist Welfare Party's Pro-EU. Party

Politics 9 (2003): 474.


141

Act No. 2547 on Higher Education as amended by the Act, No.3670 in 1990 for the purpose of protection of

the principle of secularism


142

lit. welfare path

46

and later shock for the first body belonged to Abdullah atl, a Grey Wolf and hit man wanted
by Interpol, the other dead was Hseyin Kocada, the head of Istanbul Police academy and
the last corpse was identified as Gonca Us, Abdullah atls girlfriend. The only survivor was
Sedat Edip Bucak, a DYP deputy and leader of powerful Kurdish Bucak tribe fighting
alongside the Turkish government the PPK.
Almost immediately after the accident, the parliament set up a commission to find out
why there was such a strange mixture of people in the car. Investigation, as awaited, produced
some disturbing findings. As Hanefi Avc, an assistant director of the General Security
Directorate Intelligence, testified, some in the state security apparatus deserted lawful means
of combating the PKK as ineffective and rather used extrajudicial ones whatever those might
be.143 Susurluk scandal stirred a public debate because for many people it proved existence of
the deep state (derin devlet) i.e. the existence of a connection between the state apparatus
and the Turkish organized crime. The Turkish public, in the mean time, started a protest
called One minute of darkness for perpetual light (Srekli Aydnlk in Bir Dakika
Karanlk) in which people were asked to turn off their lights for one minute at 9.00pm every
day as the investigation was not as thorough as promised earlier. Soon after, this protest later
evolved into a mass protest with people blowing their car horns, banging on pots and pans all
around the country every day.144
The evolution and expansion of the protest movement was sped up by the mockery
and negligence from the Refahyol coalition. The prime minister made both fun of the
protesters by saying that they are merely glu glu dancing but also addressed them as
parasites and conspirators...who have nothing to do but create intrigues. The Minister of
Justice Sevket Kazan said that this childish playing with the lights will not clean up the
country and that they are playing candles blown off (mum snd) by this action. As there
are countless fallacious beliefs about traditions and ways of lives of all minorities around the
world, there are also many of them about Alevite community in Turkey, one of them being
the aforementioned a candles blown off one. The story tells that after the Alevi men and
women get together at night and after the candles are blown off a sexual orgy breaks out. As
expected, not only were people angry by defamations that they understood as an attempt to
143

VI. Violence Against Journalists. Political Killings. Human Rights Watch, accessed April 15, 2013,

http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/turkey/turkey993-05.htm.
144

Asli Tun, Pushing the Limits of Tolerance. Functions of Political Cartoonists in the Democratization

Process: The Case of Turkey. International Communication Gazette 64 (2002): 61.

47

cover up the truth but also by the leading figures of the numerous Alevi community protested
against the candles blown off remark. 145
Moreover, these crowds were soon joined by the feminist and middle-class civic
associations that feared that their lifestyle was in danger by the recent and more and more
frequent proclamations from Islamists such as in Kayseri where the local mayor called upon
the faithful not to let revenge and hatred die toward the secular Republic. Another RP mayor
was forced to step down by military tanks in a town of Sincan after having rallied people and
delivered speeches about converting to the path of Sharia and making convert those who
would resist. To top it all, all five major interest groups, representing the employees and
employers of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Stock Exchanges (TOBB), Turkish
Confederation of Small Business (TESK), Turkish Confederation of Business Associations
(TSK), Turkish Workers Unions (TRK-), Confederation of Revolutionary Workers
Unions (DSK) announced a common platform to battle the government. 146
In conclusion, this time was not only anti-system party part of a government such as in
the 1970s but it was the winner of the elections and its leader became the first Islamist Prime
Minister of Turkey. However, the political style and the fact that only approximately 20% of
people voted for his party further divided both the political and sphere. Therefore, the
condition of an anti-system party is, without a doubt, present.

Grievances
The military was this time afraid only of radical Islam and its possible influence on
development of the status quo i.e. the political position within the system. The 18-point
decision of the Turkish National Security Council from February 28, 1997 later handed to
Erbakan and his cabinet summarizes that by stating that:
1. There shall be no compromise to the anti-regime activities that target the Turkish
Republic, which is a democratic, secular, social, and law-based state. (...) It is
governments duty to make its policies compatible with the Revolution Laws.
2. (...) The tariqas147 that violate the Revolution Laws should be closed. (...)
145

Zafer F. Yoruk, One Minute Darkness Leads to Daylong Controversy. Turkish Daily News, February 14,

1997, accessed April 1, 2013, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com.


146

Kalayciolu, Turkish Dynamics, 158.

147

Sufi orders.

48

3. It is observed that wearing turban (sark) and cloak is encouraged. Those who
dresses contradict the Revolution Laws should not be honoured.
4. The abolishment of the article 163 of the Constitution created a legal vacuum and
that resulted in the strengthening of Islamic reactionary movements. (...)
8. There is an ongoing fundamentalist infiltration into the state bureaucracy and
municipalities, the government should stop this infiltration. (...)
9. Irans attempts that aim to destabilize the regime in Turkey should be closely
watched. (...)
13. Recently, there has been a huge increase of provocations that target the members
of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). These provocations have resulted in discontent in
the TAF. (...)148
As the Commander of the Navy Gven Erkaya later explained in an interview, armed
force tried to help people realize the threat and second mobilize them against this threat.
Having said earlier that did not want to make a coup dtat and that the coup was to be made
by the civilians he later uttered:
We thought, if some people want to make Turkey Iran and desire to bring a
theocratic regime instead of democracy, we should first try to deter them by
rhetoric.149
The abolition of the party Welfare Party by the Constitutional Court followed shortly
after the coup, precisely on May 21, 1997. Principal State Counsel at the Court of Cassation
applied to the Turkish Constitutional Court to have Refah Partisi dissolved on the grounds
that it was a centre (mihrak) of activities contrary to the principles of secularism. In support
of his application, he referred to the seven acts and remarks by certain leaders and members of
Refah Partisi. Among others, Erbakan was to make proposal tending towards the abolition of
secularism in Turkey, and advocated the wearing of Islamic headscarves in State schools and
buildings occupied by public administrative authorities. Hoca Erbakan was also to call on
Muslims to join Welfare Party, saying that only his party could establish the supremacy of the
148

Alper Y. Dede, Islamism, State Control over Religion and Social Identity: Turkey and Egypt (PhD diss.,

Western Michigan Univesrity, 2008), 388.


149

Azlinn Gney, Aylin, and Petek, Karatekeliolu, Turkey's EU Candidacy and Civil-Military Relations:

Challenges and Prospects, Armed Forces & Society 31 (2005): 449, accessed February 28, 2013,
doi:10.1177/0095327X0503100306.

49

Koran through a holy war. The application also mentioned Welfare Partys representatives
such as Mr. brahim H. Celik who was to say in front of journalists in the corridors of the
Parliament that blood would flow if an attempt was made to close the imam-hatip150 schools.
The Constitutional Court then ruled in favour of the Chief Public Prosecutor and dissolved the
Welfare Party as it further existence opposed Article 69 of the Constitution.151

Past coup
The coup of 1997 came seventeen years later than the last one from 1980. However,
not even this time was there a popular resistance to it. As the Refah Partisi was unpopular due
to Islamistic policies and the Refahyol as a whole due to the Susurluk scandal and their
reaction to it the wide public, once again welcomed the military action. The Armed Forces
only invited Erbakan to the meeting of the National Security Council to manifest their
national security concerns to him. Shortly after this meeting Erbakan resigned.

Success of 1997
On February 28, 1997 the government resigned due to military intervention due to
the so-called postmodern coup d'tat. In other words, the chief executive was removed after
the display of force (tanks in Sincan) and the threat to use force in the 18-point decision of the
NSC. The sentence warning that There shall be no compromise to the anti-regime activities
that target the Turkish Republic, which is a democratic, secular, social, and law-based state
must have been clear to everzbody.

Inflation of 1997
The worst economic performance, later nicknamed as a lost decade, that Turkey has
faced so far occurred in the 1990s. Inflation again rose to 50% in 1987 and before it reached
120% by the end of 1994 it had been fluctuating between 60% and 70% (see Table 1). In May
150

Secondary educational institutions under the control of the Turkish state to train prayer-readers (imams) and

preachers (hatips).
151

Ergun zsunay, The Permissible Scope Of Legal Limitations On The Freedom Of Religion Or Belief In

Turkey,

Emory

International

Law

Review

19

(2005):

1114,

http://www.law.emory.edu/fileadmin/journals/eilr/19/19.2/Ozsunay.pdf.

50

accessed

February

28,

2013,

of 1995 it dropped down again to around 80%152 where it stayed until the 1997 events. Also
the average growth performance was the worst ever, reaching less than 4 percent of GDP,
which is below the performance during the 1930s.153
The lost decade of the 1990s was born out of neoliberal reforms implemented by the
first post-coup Prime Minister Turgut zal who, influenced by the economic development of
the East Asian countries, wanted to turn Turkey into a modern liberal economic country and
an economic tiger as well. Having won the elections of 1983, he soon started to work on a
plan of reconstructing the Turkish economy by eliminating the protectionist and
interventionist policies and at the same time liberalizing the Turkish market and integrating
the Turkish market into the world economy. 154
However, this strictly market-oriented approach failed greatly and led to the
aforementioned economic crisis later nicknamed the lost decade. As well as in Latin
America, the neoliberal one-size-fits-all concept concentrated on macroeconomic figures
itself did not bring about the desired prosperity. Additionally, the unregulated and clientelistic
environment gave life to a rent-seeking coalition of state, banks, and enterprises. Political
manipulation of loans orchestrated by this coalition together with irresponsible fiscal policy
led to a high public debt that later resulted in the crisis.155

152

Statistical

Indicators

1923-2011,

Turkish

Statistical

Institute,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.
153

Yksel Grmez, and Serkan Yiit, The Economic and Financial Stability in Turkey, 16.

154

M. A. Chaudhary, and Levent Koch, February 2001 Crisis in Turkey: Causes and Consequences. The

Pakistan

Development

Review

40

(2001):

467-468,

accessed

January

14,

2013,

http://www.pide.org.pk/pdf/PDR/2001/Volume4/467-486.pdf
155

Caner Bakir, and Ziya ni, The Emergence of the Regulatory State: The Political Economy of Turkish

Banking Reforms in the Age of Post-Washington Consensus. Developement and Change 41 (2010): 81-84,
accessed

January

14,

http://home.ku.edu.tr/cbakir/public_html/Docs/emergence_limits_regulatory_state.pdf.

51

2013,

Coup of 2007
Anti-system parties
When the Constitutional Court dissolved Refah Partisi in 1997 Erbakan founded in
1998 his third and last party the Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi, FP) that was later banned in
2001 even though it was, in comparison with its predecessors, the least radical party. Among
others, it sought to extend religious freedoms, but this time only within the secular
boundaries, it spoke of a support of free trade and building of relations with the EU. Despite
its milder rhetoric this party was also closed down by the Constitutional Court. The reasons
for the ban were same as in 1997 a possible threat to a secular nature of Turkey.156
This decision resulted in a debate within the party between the modernists
(yenilikiler) and traditionalists (gelenekiler), which led to party fragmentation. The party
then officially split into two new parties. The modernists set up Justice and Development
Party (Adalet ve Kalknma Partisi, AKP)157 whilst traditionalists Felicity Party (Saadet
Partisi, SP). Felicity Party is now rather insignificant. In 2002 they gained 2.5 %, in 2007
2.3% votes and in 2011 even 1.3 %.158
Since its establishment in 2001 the AKP has been, because of Islamist past of its
members, primarily of interest to the Turkish Armed Forces. The main aim has been to
answer many questions that his party formation and its actions caused in politics. The first of
these were issues related to the aforementioned Islamist past of its members, and whether the
party itself is Islamist or not and if so, how it is a threat to the state as possible anti-system
party.
When the Turkish Justice and Development Party in November 2002, after a landslide
victory in parliamentary elections took over the government, it was a big surprise. Although
156
157

Bassam Tibi,, Turkeys Islamist Danger. Islamists Approach Europe.


Originally Justice and Development Party used the whole name Adalet ve Kalknma Partisi or its abbreviation

AKP. Later on they adopted widely used AK Parti form because of its positive meaning in Turkish. The word
ak stands for white, clean and also pure which was to contrast with old corrupt parties. The party logo (a light
bulb) resembles the perpetual light that was to be brought into the Turkish politics as in 1997 by the One
minute of darkness for perpetual light (Srekli Aydnlk in Bir Dakika Karanlk) protests. Parti Tz,
Madde 3 Partinin Ksaltlm Ad, Genel Merkezi ve Amblemi. Adalet ve Kalknma Partisi, accessed April
16, 2013, http://www.akparti.org.tr.
158

Milletvekili

genel

seimi.

Trkiye

statistik

http://www.tuik.gov.tr/secimdagitimapp/secim.zul.

52

Kurumu

Bakanl,

accessed

April

1,

2013,

polls suggested that the AKP was going to gain considerable support nobody foresaw that it
will get 34.3%159 of votes and nearly 2/3 of seats in the 550-member Turkish Grand National
Assembly of Turkey respectively. Less than a year old Ak Parti160 owed its victory to
consistent inter-class mobilization and popularity of its members who earlier worked for the
Welfare or Virtue Party, respectively. A significant share of its success was also owed to a
failure of established parliamentary parties that have not been able to cope with the economic
crisis then and have been implicated in numerous corruption scandals.
There has been little consensus about the ideological nature of the AKP. In connection
with the AKP concepts such as traditional Islamism161 and moderate political Islam162 are
being mentioned. There were also concepts created ad hoc for the AKP such as Muslim
conservatism or Muslim democracy.163 However, AKP rejects all these labels and say that
they are a conservative democratic party, as described by thy party ideologue Yalcin Akdoan
in his book Ak Parti ve Muhafazakar Demokrasi [Ak Party and Conservative Democracy].164
Nonetheless, this time, unlike Refah in the 1990s, the ruling party had the majority in
the Parliament and was able to govern alone and there was very little what the opposition
could do. Even though there has been a power struggle between the old elite and the AKP
going on within the state so far there has been no evidence whatsoever of any intention to
fundamentally alter the existing regime into a regime from the outside i.e. Islamism.
Therefore, as there are no other possibly relevant anti-system parties, the condition is not
present.

159

Milletvekili genel seimleri sonular, Trkiye statistik Kurumu Bakanl, accessed April 15, 2013,

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.
160

AKP was founded on August 14 2001. History of the Justice and Development, Adalet ve Kalknma Partisi,

accessed April 15, 2013, http://eng.akparti.org.tr.


161

Hayri Abaza, and Soner Caaptay, Is It Islamic or Islamist? Newsweek, October 22, 2010, accessed

February 14, 2013, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/10/22/is-it-islamic-or-islamist.print.html.


162

mer aha, Turkish Election of November 2002 and the Rise of Moderate Political Islam. Alternatives:

Turkish

Journal

of

International

Relations

(2003):

95,

accessed

February

15,

2013,

http://www.alternativesjournal.net/volume2/number1/caha.pdf.
163

Sultan

Tepe,

Turkey's

AKP:

Model

"Muslim-Democratic"

Party?

Journal of Democracy 16 (2005): 69, accessed January 15, 2013, http://muse.jhu.edu.


164

Yaln Akdoan, Ak Parti ve Muhafazakar Demokrasi (Istanbul: Alfa Basm Yaym Datm, 2004), 160.

53

Grievances
One AKP has been in more or less conflict situation with the Armed Forces since the
begging. However, one of the peaks in this relationship was reached in 2007 when the
Parliament was to elect a new President. It was obvious that the AKP as the most powerful
parliamentary party would have the biggest chance of pushing forward its candidate.
However, the Armed Forces were against as the presidential office was one of the last
bastions they created over the years in order to maintain their political position. The National
Security Council was already turned into an advisory body in 2003 with a civilian majority.
The last two bulwarks were the institution of president and the Constitutional Court. Army
Chief of Staff, General Bykant, commenting on the presidential election, on 12 April 2007,
expressed his desires as follows:
I hope a president is chosen that is sincerely dedicated to the basic values of the
Republic, the unitary structure of the state, and a secular and democratic state. 165
On the election day of April 27, 2007 at 11.17pm General Bykant, Army Chief of Staff expressed,
once again, his worries about the current situation in the so-called midnight memorandum, or an

ultimatum, published on the Office of the Chief of General Staff website. This memorandum
later dubbed by many in Turkey as an e-mail post-modern coup or an e-memo166 reads
that:

It has been observed that there is a part of the Turkish society that in an ongoing
struggle to undermine the basic values of the Turkish Republic, secularism being at
the forefront and those activities have increased in the recent period. (...) Those that
are anti-Republican, with no other purpose than to erode the basic characteristics of
the state with this retrogressive approach, have expanded the scope of their activities
over the past few days with the developments and discourse of the last few days with
courage. (...) ...such behaviours and implementations are totally in contradiction with
the principle...stated by the General Chief of Staff in a press conference held on the
12th of April, 2007 and they do violate the basic qualifications and provisions of the

165

Abdullah Ural, Results of the April 27, 2007 Turkish Militarys E-Memorandum, Interdisciplinary journal

of contemporary research in business 4 (2012): 728, http://journal-archieves26.webs.com/727-737.pdf


166

Lale Sariibrahimolu, Chronology of Turkish military coups: From the 1961 young officers coup to the 2007

e-memo. Today's Zaman, May 1, 2013, accessed February 28, 2013,


http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=109959

54

Constitution. In recent days, the outstanding problem in the Presidential elections


has been the discussion of secularism. This situation is observed with concern by the
Turkish Armed Forces. It should not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces is
not neutral in these discussions and is the absolute defender of secularism.
Furthermore, the Turkish Armed Forces are definitely against the ongoing
discussions and negative comments and would reveal its attitudes and behaviours
clearly and transparently when necessary. No one should ever doubt about it.
Briefly, whoever is against the philosophy of Ne mutlu Trkm diyene167 the Great
Leader Atatrk is the enemy of the Republic of Turkey and so will he stay. 168 The
Turkish Armed Forces still maintains its firm determination to fully carry out its clear
duties assigned to it with laws in order to protect these qualifications and its
commitment and faith in this determination are absolute.169

Inflation
One of the strongest growths that Turkey has experienced so far took place in
2004/2005. This growth was later followed, as a consequence of reform fatigue, political
uncertainties and the tightening of monetary policy after the exchange rate, by a certain
slowdown in 2007. However, this slow down was nowhere close to the slowdowns in late
1970s or 1990s. In 2003 inflation dropped to 12% and later fluctuated between 10% and
12% until 2007 when it fell to 8.7%.170
Before the election of 2002 it was not apparent what economic policy would the
Justice and Development Party would follow. The question was whether it would continue
with the harsh reforms having been implemented by the last government or not. Due to the
crisis of 2001 the economic situation was the number one topic. AKP talked only very broadly
about lowering the poverty, promised greater economic equality and fairer income
distribution.171
167

How happy is he who says I am a Turk is a famous maxim atributed to Mustafa Kemal Atatrk

168

Emphasis added by the author.

169

Ural, Results of the April 27, 2007 Turkish Militarys E-Memorandum, 730.

170

Statistical

Indicators

1923-2011,

Turkish

Statistical

Institute,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.
171

Turkish GINI coefficient in 2002 was reaching 46 on a scale ranging from 0 (most equal) to 100 (least equal).

The GINI coefficient ranged in the EU from Swedens 23 to UKs 35 in 2002. EurLIFE - Gini index.

55

As there were many former Refah Partisi and/or Fazilet Partisi members among AKP
ranks it was definitely a surprise to many that Tayyip Erdoan almost immediately adopted
and further broadened (esp. privatization) ongoing neoliberal reforms while still enjoying
public support. There are many reasons for that. First, the worst job was already done by
Kemal Dervi who needed to stabilize the Turkish economy as soon as possible.172 Second, in
the time of the Erdoans reign the era of fundamental neoliberalism as envisaged by
Washington consensus was long gone and this time it was the broadened and less sever
post-Washington consensus as designed by Joseph Stiglitz. Unlike the Washington consensus,
the post-Washington consensus did not try to eliminate the role of a state but rather bring both
together in cooperation and in developing e.g. social safety nets. Second, the success of postWashington reforms tamed the galloping inflation (see Table 1) and Erdoans government
thus looked capable in the eyes of the wide public that was suspicious about the future
economic development. Bering in mind how much this is a sensitive issue he used it against
his political CHP opponent Deniz Baykal several times during political rallies. However, not
only has he used fruits of the reforms to promote AKP verbally he used the money to e.g.
develop affordable housing units for low-income groups by redesigning the state Housing
Development Administration (Toplu Konut Idaresi Bakanlii, TOK).
This mix of neoliberalism and compensations have created something what Ahmet
Hasim Kse and Serdal Bahe call a charity state.173 The charity state should not be
confused with a welfare state even though they pursue the same goal the social and
economic security of its citizens. However, the support from a charity state is received either
only once or for a limited time and randomly.174 Last but not least, the AKP supporters based
changed greatly. A new class of Islamic Calvinists has supplied AKP with both human and
financial recourses for they are very similar to their Christian counterparts as described by

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), accessed April 14,
2013, http://www.eurofound.europa.eu.
172

Hidayet Keskin, et. al.., Economic and Political Interaction of 2001 Crisis: Implication for 2008 Recession?

(paper prepared for the International Conference on Management and Economics, Albania, Tirana, March 28-29,
2008) http://ces.epoka.edu.al/icme/14.pdf.
173

Ahmet Haim Kse, and Serdal Bahe, Hayrsever, Devletin Ykselii: AKP Ynetiminde Gelir Dalm ve

Yoksulluk. in AKP Kiabi: Bir Dnmn Bilanosu, ed. Ilhan Uzgel, and Blent Duru, (Ankara: Phoenix
Yaynevi, 2010), 492-509.
174

Alper Yaci, Packaging Neoliberalism: Neopopulism and The Case of Justice and Developement Party.

(PhD diss., Bogazii University, 2009), 85.

56

Max Weber. They are pious and ascetic but also diligent, frugal, solidary and investing with
an eye for the future. In other words, a considerably numerous class of religious and
successful businessmen that does not look at free market suspiciously or hatefully emerged.175

Past Coup
The last coup, the so-called post-modern coup, was staged only ten years ago when Erbakan
resigned from the office of the Prime Minister of Turkey. However, this time, when the Armed

Forces issued a warning in 2007 on their websites it was not enough to succeed as they were
met with a negative reaction from the incumbent government. Even though several hundreds
of thousands-strong rallies176 took place in support of secularism and the government later
resigned it was not due to the threat from the military but due to a legislative gridlock.
Therefore the past coup experience stigma was proven as nothing given and
irreversible. Quite contrary, the premature elections showed that something changed in the
period between 1997 and 2007 amid the Republic Protests the military activities were for
the first time met with popular disapproval reflected by premature election results that
followed shortly after. Not only did AKP win decisively but received 46.66% of all valid
votes. In other words, this meant six millions votes more than in the elections of 2002 when
AKP received ten millions in total(!).177

175

The

Islamic

Calvinist

Debate,

European

Stability

Initative,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

Statistical

Institute,

accessed

April

15,

2013,

http://www.esiweb.org/index.php?lang=yu&id=224.
176
177

So-called Republic Protests (Cumhuriyet Mitingleri)


Statistical

Indicators

1923-2011,

Turkish

http://www.turkstat.gov.tr.

57

Success
As said earlier, the AKP government did resign, however, not after the militarys
threat to use force but after a legislative gridlock.
Furthermore, the government did not, unlike preceding governments, retreat and through the
AK Parti spokesman Cemil iek, announced in a rather courageous way, i.a., that:
...We would like to express that, the fact that the General Staff which is an institution
associated to the Prime Minister uses an expression against the Government in any
subject is unthinkable in a democratic State of law. The General Staff is an institution
under the command of the Government, the functions of which are determined with the
Constitution and the related laws....178
Nonetheless, the bravery of the AKP leadership was of little help for the opposition CHP used
its right and applied to the Constitutional Court to stop the election process in case the future
president was elected with fewer than 2/3 of all i.e. 367 deputies of the Grand National
Assembly. On April 27, 2007 CHP, DYP, and ANAVATAN boycotted the very first round,
thus there were only 357 deputies in the parliament. Immediately, CHP applied to the
Constitutional Court for it was not conducted according to the law.179
Two days later the Constitution Court declared that in order to elect a president there must be
at least 2/3 of all i.e. 367 deputies of the Assembly present during the process and thus the
first round was void.180 The AKP found itself in a stalemate and had no other option than to
resign and call early elections.
Therefore, even though the Armed Forces threatened to use force the government only
resigned after the legislative gridlock. Hence, the success was not present.

178

Abdullah Ural, Results of the April 27, 2007 Turkish Militarys E-Memorandum, Interdisciplinary Journal

of Contemporary Research in Business 4 (2012): 731, accessed April 22, 2012, http://journalarchieves26.webs.com/727-737.pdf.
179

Gkhan Bacik, The Parliamentary Elections in Turkey, July 2007, Electoral Studies 27 (2008), 378.

180

Bacik, The Parliamentary Elections in Turkey, July 2007, 378.

58

Research
The abovementioned findings lead to the following table where there are seven
different conditions combinations: past coups experience (PCO), an anti-system party or
parties (ASP), high inflation (INF), corporate grievances (CG). There is also an outcome in
the table: successful coup (SC).

Data Table
PCO
1960
1962
1963
1971
1980
1997
2007

ASP
0
1
1
1
1
1
1

CG

INF

0
0
0
0
1
1
0

0
0
0
0
1
1
0

SC
1
0
0
1
1
1
1

1
0
0
1
1
1
0

The table above shows that there was a past coup experience present at the time of all
coups but in 1960 received, hence all PCOs received (1). Accordingly, coups of 1980, and
1997 received (1) as there were the only ones with relevant anti-system political parties. Due
to high inflation over 20% only coups of 1980 and 1997 received (1). All coups received (1)
but those from 1962, and 1963 for the corporate grievances. Hence the following truth table,
having put the same conditions and outcomes together and where there are as many rows as
combinations, is as follows:

Truth Table
PCO
1960
1962, 1963
1971, 2007
1980, 1997

ASP
0
1
1
1

0
0
0
1

INF
0
0
0
1

CG

SC
1
0
1
1

1
0
C
1

The table indicates two combinations leading to a successful coup, two combinations
that do not and one contradictory combination where the same conditions, probably due to
wrong calibration produced the exactly opposite outcome. As we are interested in
combinations of conditions leading to successful coups only there are only two combinations
to our interest. Hence we create a Boolean formula where capital letters signalize presence of
a given condition and lower cases the opposite:
pco*asp*inf*CG + PCO*ASP*INF*CG SC

59

This formula implies that a combination of no previous experience with coups, no


anti-system party in the political system and corporate grievances or that a combination of
previous experience with coups, anti-system party in the political system and corporate
grievances leads to a successful coup.
First, the contradictory outcome of the coup of 1971 and 2007 needs a further analysis. The
reason for this opposite outcome is caused by either neglecting some other conditions or this happened
due to insensitive calibration.
Therefore, we will recalibrate the past coup experience strictly ten years as Bueno de

Mesquita, Siverson and Woller suggest based on their empirical findings. As a result we get the
table below. There is no need for a new truth table as it is obvious that there are contradictory cases.

1960
1962
1963
1971
1980
1997
2007

PCO
0
1
1
1
1
0
0

ASP
0
0
0
0
1
1
0

INF
0
0
0
0
1
1
0

CG
1
0
0
1
1
1
1

SC
1
0
0
1
1
1
0

Therefore, we need to include another condition instead of recalibrating our original


conditions. Our new condition will concern regime legitimacy such as the ASP. As the regime
legitimacy can be defined as consent between rulers and ruled we can conclude that lack of
legitimacy is accompanied with discontent. Such discontent is usually represented by the
aforementioned presence of anti-system parties or by anti-governmental violent protests
where people die after the clashes with state forces.

1960
1962
1963
1971
1980
1997
2007

PCO
0
1
1
1
1
1
1

PRO
0
0
0
1
1
0
0

INF
0
0
0
0
1
1
0

60

CG
1
0
0
1
1
1
1

SC
1
0
0
1
1
1
0

1960
1962, 1963
1971
1980
1997
2007

PCO
0
1
1
1
1
1

PRO
0
0
1
1
0
0

INF
0
0
0
1
1
0

CG
1
0
1
1
1
1

SC
1
0
1
1
1
0

The basic formula including four possible combinations is as follows:


pco*pro*inf*CG + PCO*PRO*inf*CG + PCO*PRO*INF*CG + PCO*pro*INF*CG SC

Using a logical minimization method, similar to Mills method of difference, these


four combinations can be minimized to only three combinations by eliminating the differing
values whilst the others are the same. Hence the combinations are reduced as follows:

PCO*PRO*CG + PCO*INF*CG + pco*pro*inf*CG SC

This formula suggests that previous experience with coups, violent protests and
corporate grievances or previous experience with coups, high inflation and corporate
grievances or no previous experience with coups, no violent protests and corporate grievances
are sufficient combinations of necessary combinations which together lead to coup but a coup
can occur without these combinations being present.
Nevertheless, the last combination is against almost all hypotheses stated at the
beginning of this study. Of course, hypotheses can and must be falsifiable but mere presence
of corporate grievances, no coup experience, no violent protests, and low inflation is highly
unlikely to lead to a successful coup.

Therefore, a closer look at the year of 1960 is

necessary. Without a doubt, the coup of 1960 was the first coup in the modern history of
Turkey. Although the coup of 1960 was the first coup in history of modern Turkey and even
though Kemal Karpat noted that by this intervention armed forces departed from an ancient
Ottoman tradition of mere influencing the Turkish politics,181 there were several other coups
having taken place not very long ago. In fact, a military coup became somehow accepted as a

181

Kemal H. Karpat, Recent Political Developments in Turkey and Their Social Background, 304.

61

regular political mean at the end of the Ottoman Empire such as in 1913 when military
officers seized the power. Moreover, one must not forget how the Turkish republic was born
and how Mustafa Kemal rose to power. He himself a Mareal182 and a Gazi183 when trying to
abolish the Sultanate in the autumn of 1922 resorted to a coup. The pretext for the abolition
was the unauthorized representation of Turkey by Sultan Mehmet VI on the Lausanne
Conference in 1922. Mustafa Kemal proposed to the national Assembly the abolition of the
Sultanate and the expulsion of the Sultan. The Assembly, cautious of possible future
consequences set up a Commission to consult historical precedents. Mustafa Kemal warned
them with a possible arrest if they delayed. The Commission later sided with the Mustafa
Kemals proposition of abolition and expulsion. The Assembly accepted the Commissions
position but only after Mustafa Kemal placed armed guards over the Assembly with loaded
revolvers. The last Sultan than unceremoniously boarded a British warship and left the
country.184
As the modern Turkish republic was not born a tabula rasa on October 29, 1923 it, as
a consequence, inherited much from the Ottoman political experience and practices one of
them being a military coup as a political mean (as the absence of popular resistance against
the

coups

or

sometimes

welcoming

of

the

coups

confirms).

Additionally,

the Ottoman military elite became the elite of the emerging Republic as the reformers,
revolutionaries, and Mustafa Kemal himself were soldiers. As a result, Mustafa Kemal
became the first president, Ali Fethi Okyar one of the first Prime Ministers (19241925), Kzm

zalp the

Minister

of

National

Defence

(1922-1924,

1935-1939),

and smet nn the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and later also the Prime Minister (several
times) and President of the Turkish Republic.185 Last but not least, all presidents, but Cell
Bayar, were until Turgut zals presidency in 1989, former military personnel.

182

Mil. a Marshall

183

A title given to war veterans. Mustafa Kemal received this honorary title for the War of Independence. Both

Mareal and Gazi were given to him by the Turkish National Assembly on September 19, 1921 which today
marks the Veterans Day in Turkey. Who is Veteran? Turkish War Veterans Association, accessed March 15,
2013, http://muharipgaziler.org.tr/english/
184

Philips M. Price, A History of Turkey. From Empire to Republic. (New York: The Macmillan Company,

1956), 126.
185

Gerasimos Karabelias, The Evolutiuon of Civil-Military Relations in Post-war Turkey 1980-95 in Seventy-

Five Years of the Turkish Republic, ed. Sylvia Kedourie (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2000), 130.

62

Last but not least, the first, even though not first after a coup, fair elections took place as late
as in 1950.
Therefore even though there were no coups before 1960 we could include this
condition as present (1) in case of the coup of 1960 as the legacy of the late Ottoman
experience lived on in political culture and in the new old elite of the new republic.
After the minimizations we would get a neat formula of:
PCO*CG SC
This formula implies that there is only one sufficient combination of necessary
conditions and that is experience with past coup and presence of corporate grievances.
However, this combination is irrelevant as the coup of 2007 and 1960 when both having (1)
for past coup experience lead to the opposite outcome.

Further changes to the calibration of the protest condition can be done for the protest
can be violent though not deadly and still induce a repression from incumbent government as
an overreaction and a signal of knowing what to do. There were mass protests preceding
several coups that called for curfews and other limitations of civil rights in order to tame the
violence.

1960
1962, 1963
1971
1980
1997
2007

PCO
0
1
1
1
1
1

PRO
1
0
1
1
0
0

INF
0
0
0
1
1
0

CG
1
0
1
1
1
1

SC
1
0
1
1
1
0

If we change the protest condition from deadly to violent we will get a formula
implying that there are two sufficient combinations of necessary conditions. The first is
presence of violent protests, low inflation, and corporate grievances or past coup experience,
high inflation, and corporate grievances.
PRO*inf*CG + PCO*INF*CG SC
As we can change and recalibrate conditions we can also leave the condition out or
replace it with another condition as it was done here where past coup experience was
replaced by relevant anti-system party. The reason for a removal of past coup experience
63

is that this tradition is hard to prove. In 1960, almost 40 years after the last coup the Turkish
citizens accepted the coup of 1960 as if it was another constitutional mean of that time.
However, in 2007, approximately 10 years after the last coup the Turkish government and
society opposed it.

1960, 1971
1962, 1963
1980
1997
2007

ASP
0
0
1
1
0

PRO
1
0
1
0
0

INF
0
0
1
1
0

CG
1
0
1
1
1

SC
1
0
1
1
0

asp*PRO*inf*CG + ASP*INF*CG SC
Therefore, this time no relevant anti-system party in the Parliament, violent mass
protests, low inflation, and corporate grievances or anti-system party, high inflation, and
corporate grievances are each a sufficient combination of necessary conditions.

If we leave out the omnipresent condition corporate grievances the table will look as
follows:

1960, 1971
1962, 1963
1980
1997
2007

ASP
0
0
1
1
0

PRO
1
0
1
0
0

We get the following formula:


asp*PRO*inf + ASP*INF SC

64

INF
0
0
1
1
0

SC
1
0
1
1
0

Conclusion
This thesis tried to answer the research question what conditions or sets of conditions
led to successful coups in the modern Turkish history by applying a crisp set Qualitative
Comparative method. At first, four hypotheses were formulated based on the various coup
theories in order to be tested. The first hypothesis stated that when the Armed forces perceive
threats to their corporate interests i.e. interests shared by every soldier such as autonomy,
monopoly, honour, and political position it is likely they will stage a successful coup. The
second hypothesis claimed that a high inflation marked by numbers over 20% over a period of
at least two years leads to vulnerable society and makes the incumbent government look
incompetent. This enables the Armed Forces to step in and clean out the mess and restore
the order by staging a successful coup a successful coup. The third hypothesis claimed that a
presence of at least one relevant anti-system party makes a party system vulnerable and thus
enables the Armed Forces to step in and clean out the mess by staging a successful coup
whilst the fourth and last hypothesis stated that there is high probability of a successful coup
in a regime that experienced another successful coup whilst the gap between them is not more
than 20 years.
Then, the conditions were calibrated and the outcome as a successful coup was
conceptualized. The study further looked at the empirical findings of each condition and
outcome and decided whether it was present (1) or (2). The following application of the QCA
method produced following findings.
The findings from the QCA research indicate that corporate grievances are nearly
every time in all sufficient combinations of necessary conditions. As said in the introduction,
the army elite are more or less all the time concerned with their corporate grievances. This
omnipotence of corporate military grievances distorts our final results and as there are not
more cases only assume that corporate grievances are definitely not a sufficient condition of a
successful. In other words, it is not enough for the Armed Forces to be just concerned to stage
a successful coup. It is probably a necessary condition, however more cases with success
i.e. more successful coups would be needed to be taken into consideration.
However, this maybe empirically true in other countries and inflation was present in several
formulas it is not a case of Turkey even though it experienced waves of inflation revolving
around 100s for some time. The severe inflation always hit Turkey together with other
economic difficulties therefore further conceptualisation is necessary. Moreover, Turks have
65

always protested and clashed with each other such as in the 1970s. However, the most violent
riots and battles were fought mostly for religious, ethnical and/or other reasons. Yet, there
were trade union strikes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. However, how to compare these
strikes as a closer look at the era after the coup of 1980, i.e. the era with highest inflation,
reveals that the legal setting of the third republic made it very difficult to assemble and
associate as new laws made it difficult if not nearly impossible. Even though the Article 33 of
the Constitution stated that Everyone has the right to form association without prior
permission. the Article also continued to say that associations shall not pursue political
aims, engage in political activities, receive support from or give support to political parties,
or take joint action with labour unions, with public professional organizations or with
foundations in order to assemble needed a permission from a local assemble as
demonstrations and meetings were possible only after the prior, and form a trade union.186
Additionally, persons aspiring to form an association had to be 18 years of age or older
and not deprived of the use of their civil rights. Furthermore, there was a list of people not
allowed to do so even though they had fulfilled the aforementioned criteria such as judges,
prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, soldiers, public servants, elementary and high school
teachers, college professors, elementary and high school students, college students, etc.187
Therefore, this new environment made the Turkish civil society atrophy.
The Constitution was later amended in 2001 and reads that Everyone has the right to
hold unarmed and peaceful meetings and demonstration marches without prior permission
and that they will only be restricted by law on the grounds of national security, and public
order, or prevention of crime commitment, public health and public morals or for the
protection of the rights and freedoms of others.188 Later, when the AK Parti got to power in
2002 the harmonization process with the EU legal framework started and as one of the
consequences of the process the reforms of 2003 further liberalized the Law on Meetings and
Demonstrations.
Yet, and it seems that the AK Parti has adopted the civil martial law approach when
it comes to labour movement and union activities (and some assemblies as well) and has used
186

Lois Whitman and Thomas Froncek, Paying the Price: Freedom of Expression in Turkey, Human Rights

Watch, 1989, 105.


187
188

Ibid., 106.
B. Right to hold meetings and demonstration marches. Article 34- (As amended on October 3, 2001; Act No.

4709), Constitution Of The Republic Of Turkey, http://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.pdf

66

the national security argument several times. For instance, there have been nine large strikes
in factories that belong among the Turkeys leading industrial groups during the period
between 2000 and 2007. Eight out of these nine strikes were postponed by the government for
the national security was threatened and when it was resumed or the court ruled in favour of
the protesters the government added public health concerns such as in 2004 when a strike in
Kristal- was held.189 Last but not least, the constitutional amendments of 2007 drafted by
the Ak parti left the Article 33 on Freedom of Association intact.
On the other hand, the terrorist attacks, now perpetrated mainly by the PKK (see Table
8), peaked in 1992 and the clashes between the PKK and the state security forces were limited
to south-eastern Turkey mostly.
The relevant anti-system party condition is also not convincing. Once it came out with
the high inflation and then with high inflation and corporate grievances. The second case was
the coup of 1997, however, the successful coup was not caused only by the presence of the
Refah Partisi, high inflation and corporate grievances but by other conditions such as tensions
in the society infuriated by the Susurluk scandal.
The theory about past coup experience is probably, at least in case of Turkey, the most
difficult to prove or disapprove. The coup of 1960 came nearly 40 years after the last coup
and yet the Turkish society welcomed it as necessary. On the other hand, the coup attempt
from 2007 shows that even though there was only a gap of 10 years between the last and the
current coup it was opposed by both government and later in the elections by the people and it
was accepted.
Therefore, also role of the civil society its attitude towards the Armed Forces should
be further examined because army needs peoples support in order to avoid civil war. Thus,
other conditions disrupting society should be also closely examined.
In sum, the research produced many possible combinations which few of them were
satisfying. There are several reasons for that. One of them is insensitive calibration. The
second is wrong choice of conditions and the last and most probable, there were too few cases
in order to fully use the potential of the csQCA.

189

Betl Urhan and Seydi elik, Perceptions of National Security in Turkey and Their Impacts on the Labor

Movement and Trade Union Activities, European Journal of Turkish Studies 11 (2010), accessed January 23,
2013, http://ejts.revues.org/4333.

67

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ABSTRAKT
Pedkldan prce pedstavuje a popisuje jednotliv udlosti, kter podle hypotz sestavench
na zklad teori popsanch v vodu, sna odpovdt na otzku, co vede k spnm
pevratm v Turecku. Prce k tomu pouv metodu, kter kombinuje vhody jak
kvalitativnch, tak kvantitativnch metod. V tto prci byla konkrtn vybrna crisp set
Qualitative Comprative Analysis resp. csQCA. Podle logiky tto metody jsme si nejprve
stanovili podmnky (conditions), kter vedou k vstupu (outcome). Tyto podmnky byly
vysok inflace, ptomnost anti-systmov strany, nedvn zkuenost s pevraty nebo
pevratem a posledn podmnkou byla organizan kivda ili corporate grievances. Jako
vsledek byl uren spn pevrat. Vzkum vykzal nkolik monch kombinac vzniku
pevratu, avak s ne moc pesvdiv. Dvod bylo pravdpodobn hned nkolik mal
poet ppad, patn kalibrace a nevhodn volba podmnek.
ABSTARACT
This study tries to answer the research question what leads to a succesful coup in Turkey. The
method of research was a crisp set Qualitative Comparative Analysis or csQCA that combines
the of both qualitative and quantitative methods. As this study used csQCA first we needed to
state hypotheses that predict the possible outcome i.e. a successful coup. There were four
conditions identified. The first, presence of an anti-system party. The second, military
corporate grievances. The third, past coup experience and the fourth and the last was high
inflation. The research produced many possible combinations which few of them were
satisfying. There are several reasons for that. One of them is insensitive calibration. The
second is wrong choice of conditions and the last and most probable, there were too few cases
in order to fully use the potential of the csQCA.

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