President Gul approves bill to change coup article

Photo: President Gul approves bill to change coup article / Turkey

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has approved a bill seeking to amend Article 35 of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) Internal Service Code, which provides grounds and an incentive for the military to intervene in politics Today`s Zaman reported.

On July 13, all political parties represented in Parliament passed the proposal, which was submitted in late June by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), by a majority vote.

Article 35 of the TSK Internal Service Code has often been criticized for its role in the past four military coups in Turkey, and the government recently announced plans to either amend or abolish it.

Article 35 entered the TSK's statutes after the coup in May 27, 1960. It was later cited as the legal basis for military interventions in March 12, 1971 and Sept. 12, 1980. The article says the military has a duty to "preserve and protect the Republic of Turkey."

The proposed amendment redefines the TSK's duty as "defending Turkish soil against threats and dangers from abroad, empowering the military force to ensure deterrence, performing missions abroad given by Parliament and helping to maintain international peace."

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