The Sledgehammer Keeps Crushing The Turkish Armed Forces

Today is the first diversionary of the arrests made by the third wave of the Sledgehammer case.

If you have heard it all ready, the Sledgehammer is the name of the  of an alleged Turkish secularist military coup plan which reportedly dates back to 2003. The trial for the criminal case has just started in 16 December 2010.

But during the 2010 there were a number of arrests during the investigation for the case. In February 2010, 95 people were detained. 86 of these were military personnel, 70 of them in active duty including 4 admirals. Most of them were released from custody in 2010. But after the hearing of 11 February 2011 the court decided to arrest 163 officers. Most of these 163 officers were arrested for the same case in 2010.

As today more than 347 officers (35 retired rest in active duty) including General İlker Başbuğ, who served as chief of the Turkish General Staff from 2008 to 2010, are behind bars.

There are many inconsistencies among the documents used for the Sledgehammer Indictment which prove that this evidence was fabricated and should not be valid. But the irrationality of the Sledgehammer allegations has failed to halt the case or to persuade the court to release the defendants pending the completion of their trial.

This is an excellent guide to Sledgehammer. and this is an excellent guide to the power struggle behind the whole thing.
The situation is especially dire for the Turkish Navy. 25 active duty admirals are imprisoned at the moment. Among them are commanders of the Northern Sea Area, Southern Sea Area, Submarine Group Command, Southern Task Force, Plans and Policy Department, Chief of Staff of the Fleet Command, Deputy Commander of Navy Personnel Department,  all important and key commands for the navy.

When he unexpected resigned from his post of Chief of General Staff, General Koşaner clearly indicated the negative effects of the long and indecisive legal process of the Sledgehammer case for the Turkish Armed Forces in general. All the active duty officers who are on trial right now, have lost their promotions as the Personnel Law of the Turkish Armed Forces prohibits an active officer who is on a trial to be promoted to a higher rank before he is acquitted.

What makes me sad is the fact that the fabric of the Turkish Armed forces has been tampered by this McCarthyism plot. Many fine, brilliant and cleaver officers are lost their way up as they are behind bars during the slow progressing criminal case.

The Sledgehammer case did not only put the traditional and carefully planned promotion scheme, build on hard work and loyalty in disarray, they have also created enough diversion and distraction of all services from their primary duty of national defence. The traditional promotion scheme of Turkish Armed Forces has the purpose like in all other armed forces to prepare officers for their next assignments and make sure that only deserving officers are allocated to their billets. For next couple of years many officers will be forces to take commands for which they are not fully prepared or not equipped. The damage of these interventions into the Turkish Armed Forces will haunt us for a long time in the future.

The whole process bears heavily on the families of the defendants too. The wives and children of the defendants are waiting their loved ones to return to their homes to continue with their normal life. The military families especially families of navy personnel are accustomed for long periods of deployments. But even these long deployments have a termination date. For the Sledgehammer case there no such date in sight.

Sun Tzu said: For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

2 Responses to The Sledgehammer Keeps Crushing The Turkish Armed Forces

  1. kodlu says:

    You’re 100% right, Sledgehammer is psychological warfare of the highest order against Turkey, with support from some misguided people broadly “ultra-liberals”, some of whom are now slowly waking up since people close to them in ideology are also being arrested recently, as well a not inconsiderable number of traitors.

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