Monday, 23 July 2007

Election landslide for Turkey's Islamic AKP

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As expected, Turkey's ruling Islamic AKP party eased through yesterday's crucial parliamentary elections with 47% of the vote, which will translate into a majority of around 130.

The election was called following a veiled threat of a coup by the fiercely secular army, in response to the AKP's attempt to elect its foreign minister, Abdullah Gül, to the presidency. It remains to be seen how the army will respond to the AKP's victory, given that it is now expected to hold a referendum to reduce the quorum required for parliament to elect the president.

The AKP has long denied pursuing an Islamist agenda and, since coming to power in 2002, it has presided over a period of sustained economic growth and has begun entry talks with the EU. However the old secular elite, led by the army, has remained suspicious of the AKP and talk of a military coup has continued. The army's reaction to the AKP landslide should become clear over the next few months and, as Ahmet Altan warns in the current issue of New Humanist, the effects could be felt far beyond the Bosphorus.


HughCaldwell said...

I must say I have some trouble following Ahmet Altan's article. He talks of 'the first group' and 'the second group and I have to keep looking back to check who these groups are. As I understand it, he's warning against a military coup, backed by the secularists. So, the danger comes not from the election victory of the 'Islamicists' but a backlash from their secular opponents. Down with secularism, then!!!