Opening the blackbox : the transformation of the Turkish military
Embargo Lift Date: 2018-03-24
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The existing research on Turkish civil-military relations (CMR) in general and on civilianization process since the early 2000s in particular tends to neglect the military side of the story. Despite the fact that the literature on Turkish (CMR) has expanded enormously in the last decades, the literature is dominated by mostly descriptive and argumentative “ outside-in” insights, provided by the "civilian" researchers. Indeed, the absence of internal empirical insights from within the Turkish military, which is still a black box waiting to be opened in scholarly terms, would be listed as the first shortfall in the literature of Turkish CMR. This research aims at opening the blackbox of the Turkish military and emphasizes that not only exogenous factors but also endogenous factors from within the military should be taken into consideration when analyzing the changes in the Turkish civil-military relations. The following research questions direct this study: Why, how, to what extent, in which domains, and through which mechanism has Turkish military been transforming itself? How does this transformation affect first the military's organizational culture, and then Turkish CMR? To answer these questions, this research is based on the eclectic theoretical design benefiting both from the model of gradual institutional change and culturalist approach to the military. This research seeks to follow an approach from multiple angles (e.g., TAF as a security organization, as a social institution and officership as a profession) as well as from multiple levels (e.g., institutional, individual) with the use of original and primary data (in-depth interviews with 82 officers from different ranks and services and surveys applied to 1,401 officers, a representative sample of officer corps in terms of rank and service distribution). This multi-method design reflecting insights from different levels of analysis provides an opportunity to the research for triangulation of the findings for more external validity. Simply, by revealing the High Command's attempts to transform TAF's security culture, elucidating dynamics influencing change in the TAF's social culture and examining differentiation within the officer corps, this research provides a snapshot of the Turkish military and an empirical discussion of those endogenous factors influencing the Turkish CMR. The findings show that differentiation among the TAF's security culture, social culture and officer corps' professional culture in terms of change types (layering, drift, conversion, displacement), change agents (subversives, opportunists, symbionts, insurgents) change pathways (emulation, adaptation, innovation) creates a power-distributional effect of change, which according to this research, yields to gradual institutional transformation within the TAF. This research suggests that while TAF’ u u u d culture have been changing, as of May-September 2015, as the ranks decrease, there are some major trends influencing the professional culture of the officer corps, such as the increasing heterogenization and diversification of the attitudes and opinions of the officer corps and change from value-centric officership to focusing on financial goals and career opportunities. The findings of this research also falsify taken-for-granted assumptions in the literature conceptualizing the TAF is a rigid organization immune to change and a homogenous entity with a fixed institutional order.