Turkey’s Military Elite at a Crossroad: Paths to Desecuritization?

Led by Pinar Tank

Jan 2000 – May 2011

PhD project at the University of Oslo.

The relationship with Turkey has always presented challenges to the West. The European Union’s decision in 1999 to include Turkey as a candidate member and Turkey’s desire to attain full membership of the EU have led to gradual improvements in the fields of human rights and democratic development. However, necessary reforms often challenge national policies, particularly within two key areas: the Islamist and Kurdish issues. The need for improvements in these areas is weighed against the threat that reform presents to the very foundations of the state, which are guarded by the military. Through interviews with the Turkish political and military elite, this doctoral project analyses the military’s own perceptions of its role in the Turkish state, particularly with regard to the two ‘securitized’ issues of Kurdish nationalism and Islamist politics. Through examining the dynamics behind the transference of political issues into the security field and evaluating the potential for ‘desecuritization’ of these two issues, the study aims to provide an insight into the military elite’s understanding of the Turkish state’s future.

Pavel Baev/J Peter Burgess, PRIO
Bernt Hagtvedt, University of Oslo

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