According to Turkey's constitution, the military has the authority to throw away any government threatening the secular nature of the state. There has always been a battle between those with Islamists ambitions and the high ranking military officers. Turkey is moving farther and farther away from Ataturk's vision of a modern secular nation.
NYTimes: Arrests of Officers in Turkey Stoke Uneasiness in Military
Turkey’s military chief met unexpectedly with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to discuss the detention of several high-ranking military officers in an investigation of a possible coup plot, a sign of deepening concernin Turkey’s powerful military establishment about the case.
The officer, Gen. Ilker Basbug, the chief of Turkey’s General Staff, requested the meeting, according to the prime minister’s office, and he talked with Mr. Erdogan for more than an hour about the detentions of three retired generals, the General Staff said in a statement.
The authorities detained the officers, along with more than 30 other suspects, on Wednesday as part of a case that prosecutors say involves a coup plot against Mr. Erdogan’s government.
The military officers have not been charged, but their detention appears to have caused deep worry in Turkey’s military, which for generations has been an untouchable part of the hierarchy of Turkish power.
The military has deposed four elected governments since Turkey adopted a multiparty system in the 1950s, and though its power over politics has been slipping, it has rarely, if ever, been open to public scrutiny.
The commanders of Turkey’s armed forces gathered at military headquarters in Ankara, the capital, for about six hours after the detentions on Wednesday, Turkey’s state-run news service, the Anatolian News Agency, reported. The military also canceled its weekly Friday news conference without explanation.
Prosecutors contend that a network of former military officers, lawyers, university rectors and journalists were plotting to overthrow Mr. Erdogan’s government.
The prosecutors say that the group, known as Ergenekon, a reference to a Turkish myth, acted with organized-crime figures to commit crimes that would give the impression of chaos, so that the military would be forced to step in. Eighty-six people are currently on trial in the case.
Critics of Mr. Erdogan say that the accusations are overblown and that his allies in the court system have been taking revenge for legal pressure that the military has put on him.
The General Staff said in a statement on Thursday that General Basbug “presented his views and analysis of incidents especially of yesterday, to Mr. Erdogan and to President Abdullah Gul,” with whom he also spoke in a previously scheduled meeting.