Jul 26, 2007

Turkey makes the right choice, AKP

The Turkish people overwhelmingly reelected the AK party in landmark election. This election was held four months earlier after tens of thousands of secularists took to the streets to protest AK party's candidate for president Abdulla Gul, arguing that AKP was a threat to secular Turkey, specially that Gul's wife wears a headscarf. But the secularist's noise was shown for what it was, an elite trying to cling to their privilege. The secular parties were up against an unprecedented 5 year economic development under the AK party's leadership.

Pro-Kurdish independents also won about 27 seats. This will spice up the Turkish parliament, specially that CHP, a hard line nationalist party, had won little over a 100 seats. CHP promised to be tough on kurdish separatist and execute the former the currently jailed leader of the PKK.

After this vote of confidence the question is who will the AK party select as a candidate? If they stick with their candidate Abdullah Gul, the secularists and the army can do little to stop them, specially if the pro-kurd independents join forces with AK party. If AK party manages to have Abdullah Gul as president, the army, the protectors of Ataturk's secular legacy, will have no choice but to step in and topple the government. The army made it clear that they'll do so "to protect Ataturk's legacy". How can they accept a man who's wife wears the headscarf as the commander in chief. But if they do topple the government, it be the end of Turkey's EU dream. But there's another way out, that's if PM Odegan opts for a compromise candidate to avoid plunging the country into another crisis.

This election was widely followed in the Middle East. In the last few years, in every fair election, an Islamic-leaning parties won or were denying a clear victory. Hamas in Palestine, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Algeria in the early 90s. People are fed up with corrupt regimes and perceive Islamic parties to be clean, and the AK party is a good example. Marc Lynch has a good overview of how the Turkish election was covered in the Arab world, worth reading.


mohamed said...

Nice post - it will be interesting to see if the AK Party is more aggressive in their national program now.

Abdurahman said...

I think Turkey will continue to grow economically but I hope AKP will stick to their candidate, and put the army in a difficult fix.

Al-Iskandar said...

Turkey is heading in the right direction. Turks have shown that Islam can coexist with secularism and democracy. I absolutely agree that the 'secularists' are hollering because the want to sustain their monopoly in the judiciary, state bureaucracy and military. Let us hope the rest of the Muslim world can learn from this example.

I would like to see AKP persisting with Abdullah Gul, as he's got acceptance in various circles in Turkey.

Abdurahman said...

I would like to see Abdulla Gul as president, but there's no way the military will let them. It's more likely Ordegan will opt for a compromise candidate.