- July 27, 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 that scheduled 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 cheif. 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.