The Constitutional Court's verdict for the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup plot case has understandably raised some questions. Some think military domination would be revived again, while others think the case was pointless and there was no coup attempt or plot. According to them, the army did not attempt a coup; the officials detained and charged within the Sledgehammer case would not possibly think of such a plot.
Another group, meanwhile, is trying to rebuild the militarist language that was prominent during the 20th century. According to this group, the army's intervention in the political system is almost a right inherent within the institution in order to protect Kemalist reforms. Consequently, they see the releases as a victory.
Of course, each question has a point, as the meaning of this case presents justification to each kind of reaction. In the face of the images after the releases, it is not possible to suggest that there are no coup proponents among the Sledgehammer case convicts and that the Turkish army has never attempted a coup; the Turkish society does not exist in a vacuum, it has been a witness of history.
The current constitutional regime in Turkey is the outcome of a military coup as was the prior constitution, which was a product of the Pasha's successful War of Independence. With a refined coup in April 1923 this group ended a democratic constitutional regime, which was the only social contract of Turkish history.
As a matter of fact, since then, Turkey has been dealing with a constitutional regime formed by military-civilian bureaucratic elites supported by an ideology that only has a potential for totalitarianism.
The Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases have managed to end this hegemony of the founder ideology and its supporters. This is partly the reason why they declared victory upon the releases.
However, it would not be very realistic to correlate the end, or decline, of military domination to only those cases that were opened in 2007. The government will not change as a result of a few lawsuits as long as the socio-economic conditions, production and substructure relations do not change in the country. As long as the dynamics that form a system do not weaken, or the dynamics opposing that system do not gain strength and create an opportunity for new governments, the system will not change.
That kind of transformation took place in Turkey before the cases and thanks to this many institutional and structural reforms that changed the system to a great extent could be made.
Even though the convicts of the Sledgehammer case were released due to lack of evidence, the overall conditions will not allow for the revival of military domination.
Turkey seems to have passed this phase in socio-economic and cultural terms. So, the militarist language and reactions of the 1920s and 1930s cannot confer anything real and cannot go beyond caricatures. Turkey has passed a historic turning point. It has covered a considerable distance and taken significant steps regarding the formation of a democratic constitutional order and provision of a historic peace in a country where it cannot be revoked.
Turkey is situated in a better position for fighting against coups and pro-coup mindsets. So, while continuing its struggle and building democracy, it becomes unavoidable to take measures against the practices going beyond the general principles of laws. The decision of the Constitutional Court is right in this regard.
On the other hand, the Gülen Movement, which is in search of a new coup model using Turkish society's sensitivity to military coups, cannot be allowed to manipulate these coup cases either.