upa-admin 25 Mayıs 2020 7.251 Okunma 0

Abstract: This paper outlines a research that seeks to explore the resembling and differing points of the military interventions that occurred in Turkey, Pakistan, and Greece. This paper is prepared aiming to be a guide for students and young researchers and help them in making analytical research designs and papers. The steps revealed in this paper can be a good analytical toolkit for researchers making comparative case studies. Through analyzing these three developing countries, I will try to highlight the differing and resembling characteristics of each country’s experience of military intervention. In addition to these countries, another developing country which did not experience any military intervention, namely Mexico will be examined too, in order to understand the nature of the relationship between the countries’ traits and the emergence of military interventions. The central goal of this study is to answer the question of “Why do the military elites intervene into politics in the related-countries?” The major argument of the present study is that, certain political and economic conditions lead to military interventions. The study is a qualitative research study supported and enhanced by quantitative methods, especially while measuring the variables. In the final stage, the study aims to examine the causal and analogical mechanisms behind the military interventions in Turkey, Pakistan and Greece.

Key Words: Military Intervention, Developing Country, Civil Society, Coup d’Etat, Gross Domestic Product, Democracy, Political Culture.


The military interventions in developing countries have been an issue of scholarly interest for decades. As one of the leading figures of this scholarly interest Samuel Huntington notes, military interventions are not a determinant of the Army, but a central indicator of the political culture of the related-country (1968: 13). In that sense, while examining the military interventions in developing countries namely, Turkey, Pakistan and Greece, I will not take the characteristics of these countries’ Armies into consideration.

The present study argues that, under certain economic and political conditions, military interventions tend to occur. Regardless of the Army; the political culture, economic condition, and certain historical and socio-cultural dynamics play a key role in the emergence of military interventions. In this sense, specifically I ask the following intertwined questions:

  • Under what political circumstances would the military intervene into politics?
  • What kind of economic factors lead to such an intervention?
  • Do historical and socio-cultural contexts play a role in the emergence of military interventions?
  • Could there be a link between the strength of civil society and military interventions?

 A. Research Question:

  • Why do military interventions occur in developing countries?

B. Significance and Limits of the Study

My study is significant due to a number of accounts. First of all, military interventions have been debated by scholars for several decades, it is still a hot issue and it needs to be studied within academic boundaries. Military interventions and its upper title civil-military relations are one of the truly interdisciplinary fields of study in social science. Historians, sociologists, political scientists, and policy analysts all have made major contributions to the field.  On the other hand, it is known that, military interventions undermine the building and consolidation of democracy in developing countries. Democracy is one of the leading norms in global politics, so by shedding a light upon why military interventions occur in developing countries, I may contribute to the democratic consolidation of these countries.

In this study, four developing countries will be analyzed. Three of them will be the ones which witnessed military intervention(s), the last one will be a country which never witnessed any military intervention(s). So it can be said that, the focus of this study will be limited to four countries. The purpose of the present study is to highlight the crucial reasons of military interventions in developing countries. Moreover, causal mechanisms will be tried to fed with analogical relationships too.

C. Theoretical Framework

In this study, I will try to use the following two theories:

The Institutional Theory: This theory was developed by Huntington. He described the differences between the two worlds as a contrast between the attitudes and values held by military personnel, mostly conservative, and those held by civilians, mostly liberal. Each world consisted of a separate institution with its own operative rules and norms. The military’s function was furthermore inherently different from that of the civilian world. So military interventions could have occurred if the political scene needed “military rules and norms” (S. Huntington, The Soldier and The State, 1957).

The Convergence Theory: This theory was developed by Morris Janowitz. Janowitz agreed with Huntington that separate military and civilian worlds existed, but differed from his predecessor regarding the ideal solution for preventing danger to liberal democracy. Since the military world as he saw it was fundamentally conservative, it would resist change and not adapt as rapidly as the more open and unstructured civilian society to changes in the world. Thus, according to Janowitz, the military would benefit from exactly what Huntington argued against – outside intervention. Janowitz introduced a theory of convergence, arguing that the military, despite the extremely slow pace of change, was in fact changing even without external pressure. Convergence theory postulated either a civilianization of the military or a militarization of society. However, despite this convergence, Janowitz insisted that the military world would retain certain essential differences from the civilian and that it would remain recognizably military in nature (M. Janowitz, The Professional Soldier, 1960).

D. Hypotheses

  • Political culture plays a key role in the emergence of military interventions in developing countries.
  • The level of economic development is one of the determinants in the emergence of military interventions.
  • A strong civil society reduces the probability of military interventions.
  • Certain historical as well as socio-cultural dynamics play a role in the emergence of military interventions in developing countries.

Literature Review

The causes of military interventions have been widely studied and there is a broad literature covering many aspects of relevant issues about military interventions in developing countries. The history of military interventions can be traced to the writings of Carl von Clausewitz. Clausewitz in his famous book On War (1976) states that, military organizations are  primarily the servants of the state. However, the ramifications of Cold War made militarism become flowered in developing countries. Along with the instabilities seen in the political scene, the military elites have begun to place themselves in the political arena.

On the other hand, Huntington and Janowitz published the seminal books on the subject which effectively brought civil-military relations into academia, particularly in political science and sociology. Huntington argues that military interventions can well be understood within the framework of the Army’s characteristics and position regardless of political and economic conditions (Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies, 1968). In addition to that, Huntington argues that, civilians and military elites have different values and norms: The political elites are liberal, whereas the military elites are conservative. (Huntington, The Soldier and The State, 1957). According to Huntington, “the strength of political organizations and procedures varies with their scope of support and their level of institutionalization.” (Huntington, 1968: 394). So it can be asserted that, the developing countries which experience military interventions have low level of support for political organizations.

Janowitz is one of the leading scholars who made appreciable contributions to the related-field. According to Janowitz, if there breaks out a sudden change, the military would not adopt this situation all at once, and as a resistance strategy to change, the military would intervene into politics in order to get the ability to control that sudden change and its outcomes. Janowitz asserts that, the military elites would aim to alter the direction of change into their own advantages (Janowitz, The Professional Soldier, 1960). Another important work of Janowitz was published in 1977 (Military Institutions and Coercion in the Developing Nations). In this work, Janowitz emphasizes the role of political conditions in the emergence of military interventions in developing countries. According to Janowitz, coercion is one of the crucial factors that lead to military interventions in developing countries.

Apart from that, Amos Perlmutter stresses the importance of the degree of social cohesion in the state that is prone to witnessing military interventions (The Military and Politics in Modern Times: On Professionals, Praetorians, and Revolutionary Soldiers, 1977). Perlmutter states that, in a state with low social cohesion, institutions do not develop readily or operate effectively; social control is ineffective and channels for communication are few. These conditions indicate the lack of meaningful symbols that bind the society together. So the society becomes open to manipulation and coercion and uprisings finally occur which lead to military interventions. Perlmutter argues that social polarity and non-consolidated middle class paves the way for military interventions (1969). From his point of view, low level of political institutionalization and lack of sustained support for political structures play a key role in the outbreak of military interventions. Moreover, Perlmutter argues that, military interventions come into being when the civilians come to a standstill in their pursuits of nationalist and modernist goals (modernization, order, urbanization, unification and so forth).

Another important figure that made appreciable contributions to the related-literature is Samuel Finer. Finer in his famous book The Man on Horseback (1962) underlines the role of military institutions in the emergence of military interventions. He sees the low level of professionalism of the Army as the main agent in the outbreak of military interventions.

On the other hand, Eric Nordlinger in his book Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments which was first published in 1977, makes a tripartite typology of military interventions, consisting of moderator-type, guardian-type and ruler-type. His typology however, only captures varieties of overt military control and miss the far more nuanced and more interesting situation where the military elites are able to shape government actions without directly controlling them. In addition, Nordlinger (Ibid.) locates the primary causal factors for coups in the political sociology of the officer corps.

C. Welsch (1976) emphasizes the legitimacy and efficiency of civilian government as an important deterrent to military interventions. It can be put forward that, a few scholars notably Huntington (1957), Laswell (1941, 1950), and Bueno de Mesquita and Siverson (1995) emphasizes the significance of external systemic factors in shaping civil-military relations. In his seminal study (1991) on the role of American military leaders in decisions on the use of force, Richard Betts implies that military leaders have a role and are expected to be involved in such decisions. Rebecca L. Schiff is another important scholar who has worked on civil-military relations. Her theory (Concordance Theory) has aimed to determine under what conditions the military would intervene in the domestic politics of the nation (1995). According to Schiff, the method of recruiting military personnel and the social composition of the officer corps are important in shaping military’s attitude towards politics in general and the decision-making processes in particular. Lastly, A. Stepan (1988) asserts that creating independent think-tanks and stronger permanent committees in the parliament about defense-related issues may provide routinized oversight in decision-making processes.

One of the weaknesses in the civil-military relations literature is that there are relatively few efforts to systematically compare explanatory factors or to identify the conditions under which one set of factors has more explanatory leverage than another (Peter D. Feaver, 1999: 224). Moreover, despite putting forward the main causal mechanisms that pave the way for the emergence of military interventions in political, societal and economic dimensions, the Army’s traits are generally underestimated or neglected. Another shortcoming related to the relevant literature is about the ideological motives behind the military interventions. Generally, the studies cover causal and analogical mechanisms regardless of the Army’s ideological standpoints. However it should be noted that, Huntington narrowly touches upon the ideological aspect of the military interventions (1957). Also, the relevant studies concentrate on ideographic explanations rather than being nomothetic in orientation (ibid.: 232).

Elaboration of the Causal Model

Question: “Why do military interventions occur in developing countries?”

I will test the following hypotheses:

  • Political culture plays a key role in the emergence of military interventions in developing countries.
  • The level of economic development is one of the determinants in the emergence of military interventions.
  • A strong civil society reduces the probability of military interventions.
  • Certain historical as well as socio-cultural dynamics play a role in the emergence of military interventions in developing countries.

E. Dependent and Independent Variables

Dependent Variable: Military interventions in developing countries.

Independent Variables:

  • Level of Economic Development: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
  • Political Culture
  • Role of Civil Society, whether it is weak or strong? And how much autonomous it is from the state?
  • Historical and Socio-cultural Dynamics

Terms and Concepts

Democracy: Democracy according to Robert Dahl is a form of government that has elected officials, free and fair elections, inclusive suffrage, rights to run for office, freedom of expression, alternative information and associational autonomy (Dahl, Democracy, 1998).

Military Intervention: Military’s sudden or gradual intervention into the political scene in an illegal way (Peter D. Feaver, 1999).

Coup d’Etat: A sudden, illegal disposition of a government usually by a small group of the existing military establishment (A. Perlmutter, 1969).

Civil Society: An autonomous sphere from state authority, consisting of voluntary civic and social organizations based on non-obligatory assumptions (J. Keane, 1998).

Breakthrough Coup: A revolutionary army in that kind of coup overthrows a traditional government (W.Hale, 1994).

Guardian Coup: The stated aim of such a coup is usually improving public order, efficiency and ending corruption (J. Burk, 2002).

Veto Coup: Army in such a coup vetoes the actions of the incumbent government by taking place in decision-making processes (W. Hale, 1994).

Developing Country: This is a term generally used to describe a country with a low level of material well-being. ( (Accessed on May 2, 2020)

Political Culture: Political culture is the traditional orientation of the citizens and statesmen of a nation toward politics, affecting their perceptions of political legitimacy (L. Diamond, 1996).

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): GDP is the amount of goods and services produced in a year, in a country. It is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a country in a year. GDP can be stated as GDP per capita (per person) in which total GDP is divided by the resident population on a given date (, p.11) (Accessed on May  3, 2020).

G. Causal Relationship

First of all, it will be noted that, low level of economic development may lead to military interventions. Also, a sudden alteration in the position of economic actors (e.g. the economic power shift from one class to another) may cause the emergence of military interventions in developing countries.

Secondly, if the political culture largely favors authoritarian tendencies and does not have liberal motives, military elites become more prone to intervene into politics. Another important point related to this is the level of political legitimacy and institutionalization of decision-making procedures. Because lack of strong institutions may lead to military interventions.

Thirdly, the more enhanced the civil society becomes, the less probability, the military gets to intervene into politics. Lastly, the Army’s historical role whether it played a key role in the nation-building process or not; and the cultural assets that are attributed to the Army play a key role in the outbreak of the military interventions in developing countries.

The causal relationship will be formulized as follow

¥ Legal and Constitutional Arrangements (Z)

Level of Economic Development(X1)

Political Culture (X2)

Military Interventions in Developing Countries (Y)

Historical and Socio-cultural Dynamics (X3)

Role of Civil Society (X4)

¥ Legal and Constitutional Arrangements (Z) are related to both dependent variable and one of the independent variables (X4). It is a confounding variable that must be controlled for.

H. Null Hypothesis 

The role of civil society may reveal differences from time to time in shaping civil-military relations. Civil society may become weak or strong depending on conjectural contexts. For instance, if a government comes to office that heeds the flowering of civil society organizations, that paves the way for a strong civil society. By contrast, if an authoritarian government takes office, the civil society may become dependent on this government’s policies. Therefore, the hypothesis that ‘a strong civil society reduces the probability of military interventions’ is falsifiable. It depends on where the civil society positions itself: whether towards democratic processes or militaristic tendencies.

Operationalization \ Measurement of the Variables 

I will measure the dependent variable (military interventions) by looking the public reports and if there exist nay, by examining the legal and\or constitutional regulations.

The level of economic development will be measured by examining the GDP data. Statistical data will be observed.

The political culture will get operationalized by looking at a number of indicators. First of all, I will analyze the speeches of the political actors and party programs. I will try to explore whether the social polarity exists or not. On the other hand, I will try to explore the strength of political channels through which decision-making processes are managed. The level of social cohesion and the level of political institutionalization also help operationalize the political culture of the related-countries. The role of civil society will be tried to get operationalized by looking at how many civil society organizations exist. Also their budget will be examined in order to find out whether they depend on state or not. I will also analyze their public acts to see their founding principles. So I can further explore how much contribution they make to the democratic consolidation of the related-country.

I will analyze the historical background of Army’s role especially in the nation-building process. Also the cultural assets that are attributed to the Army will be explored. For instance, in the Turkish case, the nation is evaluated as a “military – nation”.

Legal and Constitutional regulations will be operationalized by a couple of indicators. The constitutions will be analyzed in order to see whether the military played a direct and \ or indirect role in drafting the constitutions and legal regulations or not. In addition, the role of the Army will be analyzed in these regulations in order to see whether the military elites act independently from the civilians.

Research Design

The goal of this research paper is to refine a theory as well as identifying general patterns and relationships. To achieve this goal, a qualitative method will be employed based on the analysis of particular developing countries that witnessed military interventions.. Also a country which did not witness will be analyzed too.

I. Unit of Analysis

The unit of analysis in this study is the state level. I will try to analyze four developing countries.

J. Case Selection

The cases that will be analyzed consist of four developing countries: Three out of them experiencing a military intervention and the last one not experiencing.

  • Turkey
  • Pakistan
  • Greece
  • Mexico

In case selection, I will employ the method of difference. I will not be selecting on the dependent variable, because Mexico which did not witness any intervention will be analyzed too. Thus I can draw comprehensive conclusions.

K. Data Gathering

The data will be acquired through a comprehensive review of the relevant literature and through other means.

In this sense, I will analyze

  • Speeches of politicians
  • Party Programs
  • Public Acts of Civil Society Organizations
  • Constitutional and Legal Regulations.
  • Budgets of the Civil Society Organizations
  • Statistical data about the GDP per capita
  • The bulletins of Civil Society Organizations
  • Secondary Sources (books, articles) about military interventions.

While analyzing the speeches of the politicians, I will employ the method of discourse analysis.


Dr. Begüm BURAK



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