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Jim and Peri's
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Nearly one of every two Turkish voters cast their vote for
the religious-right AKP in the 2007 National Election.
But, despite the pre-election polls
(which predicted just such an impressive AKP electoral showing)
few but the party faithful will admit that they actually voted AKP...
Why is that, we wonder?
Did those 'shy voters' feel the rumble of Atatürk,
turning over in his grave?
In the cartoon, the man and wife each suspects
that the other voted for the AK Parti (AKP)...
Click for enlargement!
25 July 2007
Is Turkey Turning East?
But it was the first time in modern Turkish electoral history that a repeat-victory had been accomplished with such a large gain in voter-percentage, from one election to the next. (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AKP won 34% of the votes cast in 2002, and a whopping 46% in last week's 2007 national election). And, since the AKP's 46% topped the combined total of the other two parties to pass the 10% vote-count barrier (ie. CHP 20%, MHP 14%), it insures another 5 years of majority-rule for Erdoğan's religious-right AKP -- free of Opposition Party interference in AKP policy-making... if that's what the AKP desires and if no one gets in the Party's way (like the Turkish Army, or the Constitutional Supreme Court, for example)...
Still... what exactly does the AKP want, this second time around? What does their resounding victory foretell?
First Order of Business...
Have AKP leaders learned to moderate (or even abandon) policies that inflame public opinion (eg. Türban wearing in state schools) in the short while since being forced to these early elections? Will they be more sensitive to secular opinion, opposition party suggestions, and Atatürk's Founding-Principles? Or will it be more of the same slow march toward a religious state?
We caught our first glimpse of the party's new agenda 3 days after the election -- when the AKP addressed its initial priority for the new Administration. It came in a news conference showcasing the religious-right Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül (whose Presidential Candidacy in April incited those massive anti-government Protest Marches, provoked a 'midnight' warning from the Turkish Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and prompted an unprecedented Supreme Court candidacy-nullification ruling -- all of which forced the early national election).
Gül's purported task at the news conference was to clear up whether or not he was still a Presidential candidate (considering the turmoil caused by his candidacy the first time around). His statement on the subject was far from definitive -- seeming to provoke... rather than to clarify. He said, "I'm not saying I won't be a candidate. I first have to get a feel for what the People want." Those two sentences placed Secularists, the Armed Forces, the Supreme Court, and Gül's AKP supporters too... on full alert.
After the news conference, when reporters located and queried religious-right Prime Minister Erdoğan on the Presidential Candidacy subject, he left the waters muddy, saying, "We'll respect Minister Gül's wishes, I want to wait and see."
So, were these early elections just a gauntlet thrown by the AKP...to start round two of this still-contested 'boxing match' -- between Atatürk-Principled Secular Forces and The Atatürk-Denigrating Religious Right? And how might the match finally end?
One scenario, with an historic precedent, envisions a Turkish Armed Forces Coup d'Etat -- which is exactly what happened in 1960 during the 2nd Governmental Administration of Adnan Menderes's Demokrat Parti, and which resulted in Menderes's execution (1961) for Crimes against the Constitution (ie. departing from Atatürk's Founding-Principles). Menderes's 2nd DP majority government, you may recall, had been brought to office by an overwhelming 57% electoral win in 1954 after his 1st DP Administration had won an 'astonishing' 52% victory in 1950. Does any of this sound familiar?
Turkish Military Interference (of any sort)
would kill Turkey's chances of entry into
the 'old boys club' at the European Union (EU).
We've already made our views perfectly clear on that subject --
in this article and in this article too.
We'd say good-bye to the 'old boys club' -- and good-riddance...
and we wouldn't let the door hit us
in the ass on the way out, either.
© [LPT] - 2007 Election Results in Turkey -- Is Turkey Turning East?