Experts: Erdogan’s Win Milestone for Moderate Islamic Movements
The Justice and Development party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintained its leadership to the country after its landslide victory in Sunday”s legislative elections. This win enables it to form a single-party government in the coming days.
Erdogan won a second 5 year term in what observers described as a blow to the army-backed secularists who forced the ruling party leader to call for holding snap elections after he lost the battle of installing his candidate as a new president.
Analysts see these elections as a vote of yes-confidence on Erdogan”s policies in the past five years. The results give him a strong mandate to continue his reforms.
The Turkish Prime Minister vowed to respect the main principles of the Turkish republic and not to bargain on them, especially secularism. Erdogan (53 years) stressed that he will continue the economic and democratic reforms and promised to maintain his country”s attempts to join the European Union.
Regarding the election win of the Turkish AKP on the Islamic movement in the Middle East, Ikhwanweb phoned some Islamic leaders to know their views.
Dr. Abdul Hamid Al Ghazali, a professor of political sciences, said that the Justice and Development Party is a very successful Islamic movement, as it has managed to prove its efficiency on both political and economic levels.
Al Ghazali, also a top leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed that the continuous successes of this Islamic experience in Turkey is a clear evidence for all regimes that Islam is an all out system that embraces all aspects of life. He pointed out that this success proves that Turkish voters back the AKP with its moderate Islamic trend.
Asked about the Turkish army”s approval to the moderate Islamists” control over parliament and government and the possible control over the presidential office, Al Ghazali said the Turkish army may not repeat the mistake it committed in February 1997 when its ousted Arbkan”s government under the pretext of protecting Turkey”s secular identity. Regional and international conditions have completely changed since era of former PM Necmettin Erbakan.
For his part, Dr. Essam El-Erian said that the Turkish elections is a lesson which must be understood by all Arab regimes: that public freedoms must be allowed and elections must be held fairly.
Al Erian, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood group, added that:” This result proved that peoples of Islamic countries are mature enough to declare their identity and free choice, in addition to exposing the failure of the secular trend, after the AKP garnered about 50 % of the seats.
Although it is an Islamic party, but the AKP adopts the so called “faithful secularism”, according to Dr. Al Erian.
Al Erian confirmed that the Turkish Islamic movement led by Erdogan and Abdullah Gul managed to change their methods to become more practical and pragmatic than the discourse of the engineer of the Islamic movement, Necmettin Erbakan, specially in their discourse towards the secularists of the possible coexistence between secularists and Islamists in the Turkish political system.
Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood”s relation with the AKP, Al Erian said the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that has a close relation ship with all moderate Islamists, the most prominent of which is the Justice and Development Party.
This was reinforced by the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarian, Sobhi Saleh who confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood”s MPs have relations with the Turkish MPs within framework of their participation in parliamentary forums like the International Forum for Islamic Parliaments (IFIP), and the Mediterranean parliament.
Saleh pointed also that the results of the Turkish election prove that the Islamic experience has succeeded, confirming that the infection of this success will definitely move to the Arab world, where oppressions committed by dictators against Islamic movements will fade away.
Saleh said that Islam will definitely rule. This is what has happened in the Turkish experience. The Turkish Islamists reached this success after many ordeals since the 1970s. he confirmed that secularism lost its ground among Turkish people. This means that Islam is the solution.
After counting nearly all votes, the ruling party led by Erdogan garnered about 47 % votes, about 12 % more than what it garnered in 2002 elections.
This is the first time in 52 years in Turkey in which a ruling party can increase its votes.
Only two secular parties managed to garner the 10 % minimum for entering parliament: the secularist main opposition Republican People”s Party (CHP) finished second with 20 pct of votes and 119 seats, and the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) third with 15pct and 85 seats.
Accordingly, the Justice and Development Party will have 341 seats out of 550 seats in the new parliament and while it had 352 in the outgoing parliament due to the quota system which allowed three parties in this new parliament while they were only two in the outgoing one.
The 27 independent candidates who won seats in the new parliament include 24 Kurds after the Kurds were exclude from the parliamentary life throughout the past 13 years. The Kurdish candidates come from constituencies of governorates of East and Southeast Anatolia, according to Turkish media.
The Turkish MP”s focus on his government”s economic achievements during the the election campaign had a great role in his maintaining power.
Erdogan managed to curb inflation, maintain a strong economic growth and draw foreign investments in addition to launching EU entry talks.