I’m the toughest!

Someone sent me a link to a website that compares the armies of the world. Proudly the sender pointed out that the Turkish Armed Forces score best (together with the UK) in ‘tradition’; that the Turkish Armed Forces are the third biggest force in Europe, including Russia; and that it has the second (it’s actually the third) rating in ‘leadership’.
I suppose it’s rare nowadays to find good news about the Turkish army. There is 0 doubt anymore that it has tried very, very hard to topple the present government. Plan after plan has been reviled by whistleblowers in the mega-court case know as Ergenekon. Nasty plans too: to blow up groups of schoolchildren, to kill prominent members of the Christian minorities, to place bombs in crowded places… and blame it all on vague Islamic terror groups in order to discredit the government and have an excuse to take over. A coup would be welcomed by most Turks in such terrifying conditions, since all Turks have been educated into loving their army like a stern, but caring father who knows best what’s good for the country.
Thank God that the efficiency rating of the Turkish forces is only 33 out of 100 (see ‘tot qual’ on the same website), and most of these plans have not been executed (even if some have). And luckily the army’s ability to get military supplies to the troops is only worth a meager 4/10 (see spt). Many of the handgrenades, bombs and other weapons to be used for the destabilising operations of Ergenekon have been found, buried in secret places in the forest. The ability to mobilize the national resources for combat (see mob) is only a poor 3/10. Because apart from some, like the person who sent me the link (who just refuses to believe the allegations), most Turks are shocked and horrified by all the recent revelations. And even if they find it hard to believe all that has come out, they don’t support their army’s power hunger anymore.
As for that tradition that rates so high… yes. It’s true that the tradition of toppling governments goes back a long way. Many –also here in Turkey- think it started with the coup in 1960, but nothing is further from the truth. Lady Mary Wortley, wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Sultan in 1717 wrote that ‘the rule of this country lies entirely in the hands of the army,’ and noted that ‘despite his absolute power even the Grand Signior is their slave and trembles at the slightest disapproving look of a Janissary.’ No wonder. A century earlier Sultan Osman II was the first ruler who took steps to curb the corruption and inefficiency of his army. This won him the unfortunate and dubious honor of being the first Sultan who was murdered by his own troops in 1622. Many followed suite, up until the last one who was toppled by his commander Mustafa Kemal, later known as Ataturk.
Yes. I agree the Turkish Army deserves a high rating for its tradition.


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