8. Conclusion: The Key Premises
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183 8  •   Conclusion The Key Premises Primarily focusing on Greek and Turkish history and secondarily overviewing the last military interventions in Egypt and Thailand, this book sought to find the origins of various types of authoritarian and democratic regimes in countries where the military is a significant political actor. Analyzing power balances in society and the regime preferences of the armed forces, politicians, and economic elites, the book suggested a theoretical framework for understanding when elites repress or tolerate their opposition. In this concluding chapter, before I outline future prospects for Greece and Turkey, I summarize the key premises of the theoretical framework from the perspective of a chronological order of possible events that may occur before, during, and after a hypothetical military intervention. The goal of this type of presentation is to highlight the main findings of this book from a different, reader-­friendly angle. Of course, the stages identified in this chapter do not need to follow each other on a linear path in every case. Once a military takeover occurs, it can continue for decades without collapsing; or when the military returns to its barracks, the resultant regime might be authoritarian and not democratic; or what looks like a democratic transition might come to an abrupt halt with another military intervention. Indeed, the cases analyzed in this book and the current state of affairs in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Thailand remind us once again of the pitfalls of the transition paradigm, which assumes a linear path toward democracy once an authoritarian regime collapses.1 Keeping in mind these possibilities, the stages identified in the following pages must be perceived not as steps that line up together to make up a larger process but as three separate and distinct episodes that influence but do not necessarily follow each other. 184  •  Between Military Rule and Democracy The Three Interconnected Stages of a Theoretical Military Intervention The case analysis of this book started in Greece, with the unconsolidated democracy that was established in the 19th century and that precariously continued following the 1909 coup. In Turkey, the authoritarian regime that was established following the First World War persisted in ruling the country , despite brief liberal openings in the 1920s and in 1930. In Egypt, an authoritarian regime was in existence since the Free Officers coup in 1952. In Thailand, the regime was an unconsolidated democracy, although there were mistaken hopes, until the 2006 coup, that it might eventually consolidate. Thus, in all contexts, the starting point of this book’s narrative was a nondemocratic regime and a military intervention. Although different in duration and aims, all countries shared similarities that led their armed forces to take over the government. What were the motives behind these and other military interventions occurring in these four countries? Why were some interventions more successful than others in their repressive strategies? Why has Greece ultimately consolidated its democracy , following the transition in 1974, while Turkey has struggled since the 1983 transition? Why has the 2011 uprising in Egypt never turned out to be a democratic opening, while the 2006 coup in Thailand was replaced by another intervention only eight years later? Finally, based on the answers to these questions, what would be the generalizable premises about the causes, nature, and outcomes of military interventions? The Causes of a Military Intervention One of the critical findings of this book is that the aims of military interventions differ based on the source of the conflict in the period preceding the coup. All interventions reflect perceptions of threat to security and well-­ being, felt by different sections of the elites. If the threat is perceived to be from only elite groups, even if those elites have successfully mobilized constituencies and have won the elections, the response would be an intervention that would intend to remain in power for a short period of time. The goal would be to repair the unconsolidated democracy by getting rid of the challenging elite group and by closing down its political parties or other affiliated institutions. The putschists would envision writing a new constitution or amending the laws and returning to the barracks within a couple of years. The Greek interventions during the interwar period, Turkish putsches Conclusion  •  185 in 1960 and 1971, the Thai coup of 2006, and the Egyptian coup of 2011 fit this model of a short-­lived coup. If the threat is perceived to be from nonelite groups, the response would be the establishment of an authoritarian regime. Military...