"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ongoing military purge is not merely a response to a coup, but an aggressive restructure, rebranding, and reorientation of the Turkish military. Erdogan began to purge the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) after elements of it launched an unsuccessful coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Turkish security forces detained nearly 10,000 service members including 143 general officers and admirals in the first week, totaling over 1/3 of the officer corps. Erdogan justified his crackdown on a counterterrorism basis, claiming to remove members of exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen’s movement, which Turkish authorities have designated as the “Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).” He has also dismissed, and in some cases arrested, tens of thousands of judges, civil society members, and academics, and he closed down dozens of newspapers. The extent of Erdogan’s purge and his use of a counterterrorism justification demonstrate his intent to use the coup attempt as an excuse to transform the Turkish military into a source of personal power and eliminate sources of dissent in Turkey.
The current military purge is part of an ongoing campaign by Erdogan to eliminate threats to his Islamist regime. The Turkish military historically has a secular culture and views itself as a protector of the post-Ataturk democratic society. Erdogan thus views the military as a threat to his vision of an Islamist autocracy and has taken steps to eliminate it since 2007. He dismissed 400 Turkish officers including 37 generals and admirals in response to alleged coup conspiracies between 2007 and 2010, prompting the resignation of the Chief of the General Staff and the Commanders of the Turkish Navy, Land Force, and Air Force. About half of the Brigadier Generals and Rear Admirals removed this month were promoted to their rank after the initial purges. Erdogan’s aggressive measures after the recent failed coup attempt indicates that he likely seeks to finish his long-time campaign through this final purge." ISW
I was once the USASSG detachment commander in NATOs ALFSEE (Allied Land Forces Southeast Europe) headquarters in Izmir, Turkey where I came to have a high regard for the Turkish Army and the Turks in general.
The Turkish Republic was created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's army of national liberation and unification after Turkey's defeat in WW1 and subsequent effective partition by the victorious powers and the Greeks. Subsequently the Turkish Army was the seemingly perpetual guardian of Ataturk's legacy of secularism, Europeanization and equal rights for women.
That seems to be finished as Erdogan destroys opposition in the military to his evident goal of resuming what he imagines to be Turkey's rightful place as the center of the Umma.
I see in the news today that his forces have once again surrounded Incirlik AFB with its contingent of Americans and British airmen as well as its stored US nuclear weapons. Are these forces there to protect the base from Islamist mobs? Who knows? pl