The Turkish military: principal or agent?
Armed Forces and Society
Sage Publications, Inc.
1 - 23
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One of the defining features of Turkish politics has been the strong influence of the military in civilian politics. However, since the early 2000s, we have seen unprecedented developments, substantially constraining the political powers of the military. How can we interpret this period from a historical perspective? What are the continuities and discontinuities in Turkish civil-military relations? Do these developments mark the end of military guardianship in the country? Employing the principal-agent framework, this study shows that the path of Turkish civil-military relations has been cyclical, where the status of the military has swung between agent and principal. Such swings have led to a significant degree of variance in the nature of the military guardianship. Thus, this study identifies two distinct stages of military tutelage during the Republican period: symbolic (1924-1960) and overt/assertive (1960-2001). It is further argued that the recent reversion of the military back to agent of the civilian principals has initiated a post-guardianship era in Turkey. © The Author(s) 2012.