The Changing Role of the Military in Turkish Politics: Democratization through Coup Plots

Yaprak Gursoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The exposure of alleged coup plots in 2007 has shaken the guardian role of the
Turkish military in politics. What were the conditions that led to the exposure
of the coups and what is their significance for the future of Turkish democracy?
Drawing on insights from southern Europe, the article argues that failed
coup plots can lead to democratic civil–military relations especially if they
work simultaneously with other facilitating conditions, such as increasing
acceptance of democratic attitudes among officers, consensus among
civilians over the role of the military, and the influence of external actors,
such as the European Union. The article focuses on such domestic and
international factors to analyse the transformation of the Turkish military,
the splits within the armed forces and the resulting plots. It argues that one
positive outcome of the exposed conspiracies in Turkey has been the
enactment of new institutional amendments that would eradicate the
remaining powers of the military. Yet, a negative outcome of the coup
investigations has been an increase in polarization and hostility. Turkish
democracy still lacks mutual trust among significant political groups, which
creates unfavourable conditions for democratic consolidation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-760
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Turkey
  • southern Europe
  • democratic consolidation
  • civil-military relations
  • democratic control of the armed forces
  • failed coups
  • Ergenekon
  • Balyoz


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