Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using cross-border military operations to gain control over his armed forces and shore up support domestically to eliminate a possible military overthrow, analyst Ahmed Aboudouh said in an article for the Independent on Wednesday.
The failed military coup of 2016 heightened the fear among the government over being pushed out of power by the military. Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has confronted the military directly through the two major trials of which many high-ranking military officials including the former and retired chiefs of the army were accused of plotting to overthrow the government and were sentenced to prison terms. The AKP further intensified the purge following the coup attempt.
Despite the turbulence in the military, Turkey has launched several military operations in Syria, Libya and northern Iraq and deploying it has multiple advantages for Erdoğan, according to Aboudouh.
“Firstly, it allows him to keep an iron grip on his forces and you could make the argument that this stifling of a sense of independence would make those in the military think twice before going against their president,” he said.
Military operations also help Erdoğan to strengthen his hand domestically, especially before the presidential elections in 2023.