Turk General Staff broadens definition of 'enemy'

The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will be widening the definition of what constitutes an enemy to include a larger number of individuals and agencies, according to a series of reports published by Taraf daily on Monday and Tuesday.

Turk General Staff broadens definition of 'enemy'
According to the daily's report, which included scanned pictures of an army document that redefines certain concepts and reads "strictly confidential" on top of the page, the General Staff will also change the scope of the responsibilities of the Mobilization Research Council Administration (STKB), a unit of the General Staff active since 1977.

The STKB and several other units of the General Staff, known as administrations of "Disorderly Warfare," are secretive departments that are generally deemed to be units structured as organizations which carry out undercover operations -- physical and psychological -- to fend off danger from perceived enemies.

According to the daily's report, the most recent briefing on the disorderly warfare units, relayed to sources of the General Staff in print and on a CD, expands the duties of these units, assigning them the duty to fight any individual, institution or agency "attempting physical, economic, psychological or political occupation of the homeland."

The definition is too vague -- any agency from the European Union to the government of the Republic of Turkey can be perceived as an enemy, warned strategist Sedat Laçiner, who heads the Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

In an interview with Taraf, Esat Canan, a former Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy, said the concept of disorderly warfare was an attempt to annihilate democracy. Mesut Değer, another CHP deputy, said STKB-like organizations in the military and similar organizations, which he labeled "counter-guerilla," were responsible for most of the politically motivated and unresolved murders in Turkey over the past few decades.

"They want unlimited power," said Laçiner.

Under the new plan, the number of STKB administrations will increase to 24 by 2012 from the current 12. Another revision to the disorderly warfare strategy is a change to the job specifications of the administrations, which are being expanded to include the vaguely defined task of "preventing every kind of element that threatens the integrity of the country."

The document also notes that the individuals from outside the military to be chosen for a mission of these units should have "strong patriotic feelings." The signature of Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt can be seen under the documents printed alongside the Taraf story.

Taraf's report noted that the new concepts -- which have not been fully and officially approved yet -- are extremely ambiguous. A source working at the General Staff headquarters said, "Since it is not clear how 'occupying' is defined in the enemy definition and since the scope of the physical, political or economic occupation is not explained, it could actually be any legal or civilian formation unwanted by the sovereign power. Such organizations or individuals might be subject to the General Staff's disorderly war activities."

Disorderly war now

Under the current STKB regulations, disorderly war is defined as "Military and semi-military operations mostly carried out with the support and strength of the local people in a target country or in a land occupied by enemy forces to destroy or weaken the dominant authority and prevent its operations to eventually control the region in question." But why is this expression being changed? According to the same source, the reason is the emergence of "new balances in the world" after the end of the Cold War. "The Cold War's end, the US becoming the sole superpower, new nuclear threats, changing balances with increasing energy needs, Russia's energy policies, the change in the conceptualization of terrorism and developments in the Middle East have created a new perception of threats. This is why the necessity to change the definitions regarding disorderly war arose."

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2008, 11:33