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Transformation of civil-military relations: an analysis of the officers’ views about the civilianization reform process in Turkey (1999-2016)

Koydemir Avcı, Fatma Serap
This study inquires into the impact of the legal and constitutional reforms in civilmilitary relations field in Turkey, enacted since 1999 in order to curtail the military’s political and institutional autonomy on the perceptions of the military officers in terms of the internalization of civilian supremacy. In that sense, this study based on data collected via face-to-face interviews analyzes and reflects the views of a group of mostly high-ranking officers related to the internalization of the notion of democratic civilian control. The thesis highlights some significant constraining elements for the internalization of the notion of democratic civilian control among the officers on the basis of the findings in the interviews. These are the prevailing traditional dilemmas related to the primacy of national security and regime related issues among the officers, perceptions of civilian control as not yet consolidated as a tradition, the skeptical views of the officers regarding the democratization process in Turkey, and aspects of military education and ideological socialization norms of the military feeding conventional values among the officers. The research concludes that civilian control should also be carried out democratically because not every civilianization process might result in democratization.