06/10/2011, 00.00
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From Kemal Ataturk to Erdogan. Turkey votes on June 12

by NAT da Polis
It will be the most important election in modern Turkish history. Favourite: Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party which aims to reap the fruits of the changes created in the country. Polls forecast the Kemalists will be separated by about 20 percentage points. Military sees power greatly reduced.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Turkey is preparing to vote in a June 12 general election the most important of its modern history. The elections were proclaimed in the wake of the referendum of 12 September 2010, held to change the Turkish Constitution the result of the 1980military coup. The referendum, announced by Erdogan, saw the Turkish people's will for change triumph, with 58%. It must be stressed that it will also be the first time in the history of the republic of Turkey, that a constitution resulted from popular expression and was not imposed by the military, including the constitution promulgated by Kemal Ataturk.

Promoter of these changes was the Islamic inspired AKP party, in power since 2002, of which Tayyip Erdogan is the undisputed leader. Polls give his party AKP as the winner, with a percentage ranging between 46-50% immediately followed by the CHP (the party founded by Kemal Ataurk) estimated between 27-29%, then the MHP (National Religious Party), which lies between 10.5-11.5%. Finally, about 27 deputies will be elected as independents, they are generally of Kurdish origin.  

Considerations beyond the polls

The upcoming re-confirmation of Erdogan is not accidental. Erdogan has been able to express, and to for the most part bring out, the religious conception of Turkish society (note: not fundamentalist), long controlled and marginalized by the secular Kemalist military establishment. Thanks to the 1980 coup this conception of religion was allowed to reappear mainly as an antidote to a possible dangerous "drift" to the left of some sections of Turkish society. Putative father of this renaissance was Turgut Ozal (of Kurdish origin) prime minister and later president of Turkey the 1980’s.

Erdogan's AKP party founder, making skilful use of openness to Europe, undertaken by the old establishment (actually a rather virtual approach, instead of face to face), succeeded after repeated clashes with the old establishment, led by the Turkish army , through the high courts and the bureaucracy, of basically putting the military in quarantine. HE Even put 163 of them in jail, following the "Ergenekon” cases, the so-called Turkish "Gladio" and Bayloz.

At the same time it proceeded a certain democratization of Turkish society, with the granting of rights to minorities unthinkable before, but mainly succeeded in giving flesh to the new middle class bourgeois and very enterprising entrepreneurs, originally from Anatolia and from religious backgrounds (hitherto latent), in response to the old, narrow middle-class economic elite, who in reality were invented by the Kemalist regime and for this reason is still closely tied to it.

In short, Erdogan gave way to those socio-economic reforms that no one else had ever dared to before Kemal Ataturk, putting Turkey among the emerging countries, a country that, with the go-ahead from Obama, is shown as a model to imitate on the Middle Eastern-Anatolian chessboard. And that even if Erdogan's foreign policy is different from the old Kemalist establishment, distancing himself from the U.S. and Israel, found guilty of having supported the creation of a Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

Tayyip Erdogan’s worst enemy is his arrogance, however, expressed by a huge election manifesto, which is plastered all over Turkey. Next to his picture stands the slogan "Hazil Hedef 2023" ("Our goal is 2023). In short 100 years since the establishment of the Republic by Kemal Ataturk.
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See also
Constitutional court asked to resolve the AKP question quickly
Local elections highlight Turkey’s contradictions
Gul’s Iraq visit breathes new life in Ottoman model
In Ankara, a "lesson" from Barroso on what the EU means
Turkey faces crucial referendum on democratic future


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