A R C H I V E S
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Islamists come to power in Turkey|
|11/05/02 at 06:03:29|
|Turkish Moderate Islamic Party Set for Landslide Polls Victory|
ANKARA, November 3 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) - Turkey's moderate and untested Islamic
party, viewed with suspicion both at home and abroad, was Sunday, November 3, poised to
win a landslide election victory which will allow it to form the next government,
state-run television said.
The pro-Islamic Justice and Development party (AK) was set to win 35 percent of the vote,
and take 350 seats in 550-strong parliament, handing a resounding defeat to the outgoing
coalition of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, state-run TRT television reported.
The elections are being closely watched by Turkey's NATO allies and the European Union,
amid concern over any further turmoil in the country where the army has seized power three
times since 1960.
The United States is also monitoring the outcome, as it would expect Turkey's help in any
strike against Iraq, its southern neighbor.
Moving to reassure Turkey's anxious allies, party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a
press conference his year-old party, standing in its first elections, was ready to "assume
its duty" in running the country.
"Our party, which respects the lifestyles of all Turkish citizens and which is determined
to accelerate Turkey's EU membership process and to implement an economic program to
speed up Turkey's integration with the world, is ready to assume (its) duty," he said,
reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Erdogan, however, is barred from standing for Prime Minister due to a 1998 conviction for
incitement to hatred and a question mark hangs over who AK would nominate as its
candidate for head of government.
AK refused to dump Erdogan as its chairman triggering an ongoing legal challenge to ban
the party for defying the law - sparking fears of a constitutional crisis in the
predominantly Muslim country.
The party is also viewed with suspicion by the secular establishment which remains
unconvinced that AK members disavowed their Islamic views for a more mainstream stance.
Initial results, with some 15 percent of the votes counted, suggested AK annihilated
Ecevit's ruling three-party coalition, which came to power in 1999 with just 22 percent of
The 41-million-strong electorate appeared determined to unleash their wrath on Ecevit's
government for an 18-month economic crisis which saw Turkey tap the International Monetary
Fund for a 16-billion-dollar bailout, and left a million unemployed.
The strongest challenge to AK came from the staunchly secular Republican People's Party
(CHP), Turkey's oldest party set up by the country's founding father, Mustafa Kemal
Initial predictions gave it some 20 percent of the vote, which would give it some 190
seats. The remaining 10 seats would go to independents, TRT said.
No other party among the remaining 16 contenders was able to overcome the 10-percent
national threshold required to enter parliament, according to the early returns.
The election had been originally due in April 2004, but was brought forward because of
political instability triggered by Ecevit's ill health and rifts in his coalition
government over the controversial reforms needed for Turkey's struggling EU membership bid.
However, many doubt whether the elections will bring much-coveted stability at a time
when Turkey is tackling a severe recession and confronting the possibility of war between
the United States and Iraq.
Ordinary Turks are looking for a stable government that will drag the country out of its
worst recession in years, while financial markets are hoping for an administration that
will remain committed to its strict economic recovery program and its pro-Western path.
The European Union, set to map out its 15-nation eastward expansion at a key summit in
December, has so far snubbed Ankara's bid to join, refusing even to set a date for the
start of accession talks.
|Re: Islamists come to power in Turkey|
|11/07/02 at 08:39:56|
|Reading Change in Turkey|
By Cuneyt Ulsever
Turkish Daily News
The November 3 elections ended, or at least attempted to end, the era of “crony
Reason dictates that this era will be replaced by an era of rational capitalism, and that
the country will be integrated into the global world.
The conditions of the world order will urge the new government of Turkey to rational
capitalism even if the winning Justice and Development Party (AKP) is not fully aware of the
Moreover, AKP has the capacity to marry Islam and liberal democracy, the first time ever
in world history. In fact, this is not the first attempt. Turgut Ozal of the Motherland
Political Party (ANAP) had tried the same game but was unable to obtain the results.
In that sense the new era will be a laboratory test for the whole world: Can Islam
integrate liberal democracy? Can Islam be integrated into the globalized world?
The answers to these very delicate and difficult questions are with the AKP.
Before the eyes of the Turkish people it was not important what they wanted to achieve
out of this election, it was important that they got rid of what they didn’t want anymore.
They openly negated the era of crony capitalism. And they have openly punished those
politicians associated with it. They have run a social protest, not in the streets but in the
Those politicians known as the main political actors of the last 40 years have been
eliminated from the political scene:
1) Mesut Yilmaz of ANAP has been erased from the political scenery after staying in
Parliament for 19 years. He succeeded in diminishing the votes of ANAP from 27 percent to a
mere 5 percent in 11 years after he took over the party. He lost simply because he was the
main figure of the economics of impropriety with his brother.
2) Tansu Ciller of the True Path Party (DYP) also lost for the same reason. She hasn’t
been in power for the last five years, but it is obvious that people have not forgotten her
alleged forgery with her husband. She did succeed nearly the impossibility. In an era
deep in economic crisis, although she was in opposition, she was also associated with the
crisis because of her past activities.
The results of the elections also wiped off those fatherly figures from the Turkish
1) Suleyman Demirel, a strong figure in the last 40 years, has also been wiped out. He
openly backed his old party, DYP of Ciller, and made his voice heard through his spokesman
Husamettin Cindoruk. But people simply didn’t listen to his advice. I believe that people
said, “It is enough with Demirel, if he does not pull out himself, we will throw him away
It is tragically funny that Cindoruk and Demirel used to hate Ciller until recently,
before the elections, as she pulled the party out of the hands of these old-shots only eight
2) Necmettin Erbakan, the prohibited coach of the Saadet Party (SP) of Recai Kutan, has
also been wiped out. For 40 years the leader of the so-called “National Sight,” the
prominent pro-Islamic political group, has also been urged to retire by the will of the people.
3) Last but not least, the elderly figure wiped off the political scenery is the present
prime minister Bulent Ecevit. He has been in politics for the last 40 years and has also
heard from the people that “enough is enough!”
These three, over 75 years old, have been the establishment of Turkish politics since
1960 and have been simply kicked out, at last.
On the other hand, Devlet Bahceli of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Ismail Cem of
the New Turkey Party (YTP) received early blows at the very start of their political
career as the chairmen of their parties.
Certainly, this is an end of an era in Turkey, and what could one expect differently in a
country facing a very harsh crisis accompanied by one of the worst income distributions
in the world?
This article was originally published in the Turkish Daily News under the title “How to
Read the Results of the Election.” Please refer to source for the original version.
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