By Christos T. Panagopoulos
President of the Turkish Republic, Abdullah Gül, ratified on Wednesday the amendment of the 35th article of the Constitution, which is believed to have provided legal justification for military coup d’état in his country and had provoked four governmental overthrowings between 1960 and 1997.
“The duty of the Armed Forces is to protect and safeguard the Turkish homeland and the Turkish Republic as stipulated by the Constitution,” the former Article 35 stated. But after Gül’s approval the phrasing from now on will state that “the duty of the Armed Forces is to protect the Turkish homeland against threats and dangers to come from abroad, to ensure the preservation and strengthening of military power in a manner that will provide deterrence, to fulfill the duties abroad with the decision of the Parliament and help maintain international peace”.
According to governmental sources, the amendment will obstruct any attempt by illegal paramilitary groups to overthrow Turkey’s respective legally-elected government, like what was prevented after the Ergenekon scandal and “Operation: Sledgehammer”.
Another article of the same internal service code defined military service as the “responsibility to learn and conduct the art of war in order to protect the Turkish homeland, independence and Republic.” With the amendment, it has been altered to limit its extent by defining the military service as “the responsibility to learn and conduct the art of war.”
The amendment was adopted by Parliament on July 13, on the last day of the past legislative year.
Source: Anadolu News Agency, Hürriyet