Once upon a time in the 1980s, 1990s and even the early 2000s, we used to talk about the National Security Council (NSC) as "military-dominated." The so-called "recommendations" which emerged at the NSC meetings would in fact be orders by the generals on how the government should act. The government would prepare legislation according to "recommendations" and the Parliament would swiftly approve them. Thus Turkey was called a "military democracy."
Now all that has changed. After the mid-2000s, the situation started changing and after the 2007 landslide victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the general elections, the NSC became a civilian dominated entity, which works by giving real recommendations to the government.
The democratization process in Turkey has turned the NSC into a body that coordinates national security issues and helps to synchronize the government and military actions on vital issues.
On Thursday, the NSC held its longest session in history, lasting 10 hours and 25 minutes. The longest session before this was in 1996 on Feb. 28, when the military lambasted the Erbakan government and tried to force it to take anti-religious measures that was the first step of the coup that ousted the elected government. That was called a post-modern coup staged by the military using civilians to do their dirty job.
It was the first time that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired the NSC as the first ever directly elected president of the Turkish Republic. Before, Erdoğan used to attend the NSC meetings as prime minister. So it is no surprise that the meeting lasted so long and broke a record. Because it reflects how the "New Turkey" of Erdoğan will be run in the future.
Erdoğan is putting his seal of leadership on the administration of Turkey and that is exactly what the Turkish people want. The Turkish people gave him a mandate both in the March 30 local elections and then at the August presidential elections to continue to run the country. That is exactly what Erdoğan is doing.
The NSC meeting has become a forum where the government, the military and the office of the presidency, with its enhanced role in the Turkish system, will synchronize their efforts to deal with the problems of the country under the leadership of Erdoğan.
How Turkey will be run under Erdoğan is taking shape. It is clear that while Erdoğan allows Davutoğlu to do the day to day running of the government, Erdoğan will be doing the supervision and the coordination. That way he will be in a position to oversee the issues in a more objective manner and thus seek solutions more effectively.