The MGK's regulatory statute hidden secret up to now
"With the seventh EU harmonization package passed by Parliament late last month, the National Security Council (NSC) has been presented with a new structure. This also applies to the NSC Secretariat-General. That's why certain generals due to retire soon are one after another voicing their uneasiness about the latest developments. Among those generals there is NSC Secretary-General Gen. Tuncer Kilinc, who publicly complained earlier this week that under the new law, the functions of the NSC Secretariat-General had been drastically reduced.
What is the function of the NSC Secretariat-General? One could hardly hope to find an answer to this question until just yesterday, when Turkish daily Radikal published a longstanding regulatory statute of the Secretariat-General, a document written shortly after the 1980 military coup to define the institution's functions and powers, and which has been kept hidden from public view ever since. What could be the logic behind secreting away such a legal document unless it grants the Secretariat-General the power to take arbitrary actions?
When one reads this regulatory statute, one cannot help but conclude how wise it was to cut the powers of the Secretariat-General. The statute effectively creates, alongside our democratically elected government, a second secret government, but this one military in nature and overwhelmingly powerful. However, in democracies there should be no person or institution exercising political will other than those who were popularly elected.
Now that this secret statute has been made public, we must realize that for at least 20 years we have been living in a country with a wholly anti-democratic system. This is mind boggling: There is an institution empowered with doing the work and making the decisions supposed to be the purview of the elected government and its ministries. What's even more serious is that under the statute, the Secretariat-General is authorized and held responsible to manipulate public opinion. To this end, there is even a department within the secretariat called the Public Affairs Chairmanship. Moreover, it is the secretariat's åtask' to launch a åpsychological manipulation campaign' whenever it deems necessary.
A new statute is in preparation now and is expected to be entered into force in November. This new statute must be prepared transparently in line with democratic principles. Moreover, if there are other secret, anti-democratic laws and regulations still in force, the government should immediately make them public, too.
We should not forget one thing: We can be democrats only as much as we can steer the state away from secrecy."
(Fehmi Koru, Yeni Safak, August 28, 2003)