The Corner

Did the Last Straw Fall in Turkey?

No matter how bad Turkey has gotten, many U.S. and European policymakers have been sanguine; after all, the Turkish army still remained a bulwark against an AKP takeover. No more. In the most important news not to make the headlines, yesterday Prime Minister Erdogan managed effectively to veto the future chief of the Turkish General Staff (sorry–Turkish only) and substitute his own candidate.

It would be naïve to cheer the move as confirming the supremacy of civilians over the military. What Erdogan has perfected is not democracy but rather its evisceration. In Turkey, the military has always been an independent body, willing as a last resort to defend the constitution against leaders who sought to subvert it to their own political agendas. It is unfortunate that the military seized power in 1960 and 1980, but neither time did it keep power; rather, it worked to restore constitutional rule. I certainly believe it is important to remove the military from any involvement in politics, but it is dangerous to do so without first constructing other checks and balances to prevent a Putin-like dictatorship.

With yesterday’s news, not only does Erdogan dominate the parliament, the judiciary, the police, the intelligence apparatus, and the media, but it looks like he will also soon control the military. His nominee will assume power around the time President Obama plans to send Turkey the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, our latest, most high-technology fighter plane, the basis of U.S. air power for decades to come. Still, the White House and the Pentagon have failed to do basic due diligence to ensure there are no vulnerabilities to technology transfer to Iran when Obama sells a plane to a leadership sympathetic to the Islamic Republic and hostile to U.S. policy. And, unfortunately, Congress is asleep at its oversight, and has yet to demand the Pentagon conduct such a review before it is too late.

Michael Rubin — Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More