Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül has approved a legal amendment intended to prevent the army from carrying out military coups d’état. Article 35 of the Turkish Army’s Internal Service Code was issued after the 1960 coup and was amended by Gül. It is one of the key articles that the army depended on as a basis for its military takeovers in 1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997.
The Turkish newspaper Milliyet said that Article 35 provided legal justification for the coups, as it authorised the army to intervene militarily against any government or entity which attempts to violate the principles of the secular republic. Since his rise to power in 2002, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has introduced several reforms to prevent the army’s intervention in politics.
Turkey condemned strongly the military coup in Egypt last month, and criticised what it called the Western “double standards” regarding what happened, as well as the West’s silence about the massacres committed against peaceful protesters.