The Turkish military's autonomy, JDP rule and the EU reform process in the 2000s: An assessment of the Turkish version of democratic control of armed forces (DECAF)

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Toktaş Ş., Kurt Ü.

Turkish Studies, vol.11, pp.387-403, 2010 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2010.506737
  • Journal Name: Turkish Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.387-403
  • Police Academy Affiliated: No


This article tackles the question of Europeanization in Turkey's civil-military relations and the extent to which the EU has served as an anchor in the civilian control over the Turkish Armed Forces. We argue that the EU membership process has necessitated democratization in civil-military relations; EU support was not sufficient for fully integrated democratic control of the armed forces (DECAF) as there are still problems in the democratization of civil-military relations. Since the 2000s, there has been a DECAF reform process taking place but due to historical deficiencies in Turkish polity, like the civilian incapacity to change the priority given to the military's role in the making of the security culture, the European norms of DECAF, such as a constitutional division between the civilian and military authorities, political neutrality of the military and parliamentary control of the defense budget, is formal. In the first part, we aim to give background information to DECAF reforms in Turkey. The second part discusses Justice and Development Party (JDP)-Turkish General Staff (TGS) relations between 2002 and 2007. The third part assesses civil-military relations in the period since 2007. The last section pays special attention to the significance of the question of a Turkish way to Europeanization especially in the field of civil- military relations. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.