Kemalism on the brink. “Turkish government slams army intervention threat,” by Gareth Jones and Hidir Goktas for Reuters, with thanks to Morgaan Sinclair:
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government sharply criticized an army threat to intervene in domestic politics and said on Saturday the military must remain under civilian control.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone with Turkey’s top general, Yasar Buyukanit, after Friday’s statement in which the military said it was ready to act in defense of secularism, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said.
Cicek said the army statement was aimed against the government and was timed to influence the Constitutional Court which is set to study a legal challenge to the inconclusive first round of a presidential election on Friday.
“Turkey’s problems will be solved in the framework of the law, there is no other way … The chief of the General Staff is answerable to the Prime Minister,” Cicek told a news conference.
The army, which has ousted four governments in the past 50 years, expressed concern in its statement late on Friday over the election. It said it was ready to act in defense of the secularist system separating religion and politics.