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|Quiet, historic moment in Turkey|
The past week witnessed what the New York Times described as history quietly passing in Turkey when police officers fanned out to make dozens of arrests of chief active and retired military personnel.
For Turkish citizens, the newspaper images were unforgettable: young police officers, some not even born at the time of the last major military coup in 1980, rounding up white-haired retired Turkish generals. The unthinkable happened; the untouchable and largely unaccountable military had come under public scrutiny, exposing shameful and troubling plans.
The arrests came as part of a larger investigation into the so-called "Operation Sledgehammer" and possibly connected with another investigation called "Ergenekon" that has uncovered evidence pointing to a wide-spread attempt by military members to create internal insecurity as an excuse to oust the current AK party government of Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan. The plot includes accusations that the army intended to blow up two mosques full of worshipping Muslims on a Friday and provoke Greece into shooting down a Turkish warplane. The Turkish military has been involved in several coups since the founding of the republic under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the latest of which was the 1997 overthrow of the Erbakan government. Each coup has resulted from the army, considered the guardian of secular Kemalism, deeming that Islamic powers were becoming too strong.
For the full column, see Page 6A of this week's Citizen.
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Ron Coody, a West Monroe native, is a Ph.D. candidate in Intercultural Studies at Concordia Seminary. From 1993-1998, he lived and worked in Kazakstan doing environmental work. Since 2002, Mr. Coody and his family have resided in Istanbul, Turkey.