Deconstructing the Turkish military's popularity
Why is the military so popular in Turkish society? By using World Values Survey data, this study explores the impact of several political, social, and personal factors on societal confidence in the military. Empirical results indicate that there is a significant variance in confidence in the military across certain political groups. Although the military's popularity is high among nationalists, it is rather limited among pro-Islamic and pro-Kurdish groups. Interestingly, however, religion cuts both ways in the formation of confidence in the military. Pro-Islamic groups do not have much confidence in the strictly secular military, but being a devout Muslim does not reduce the military's popularity. Another interesting finding is that trust in civilians and support for democracy do not necessarily reduce military's popularity. A brief discussion of some implications of these findings for the civil-military relations and prospects for the consolidation of democracy in the Turkish Republic is also provided. © 2009 Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society.