Turkey’s Islamist-rooted conservative ruling party is expected to easily win a third term

Turkey headed to a one-party system, critics say. DW-World

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey may be headed for a turning point under Erdogan

Turkey’s Islamist-rooted conservative ruling party is expected to easily win a third term. While the AKP promises broader democratic rights, critics fear a landslide victory would lead to a “one man, one party” system.

 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP is almost certain to win Turkish elections on June 12. Polls show support for the party ranging from 42 percent to 50 percent, predicting a landslide victory.

Critics fear such a victory would help Erdogan tighten his grip on power and establish a de facto one-party system. That could undermine freedom and democratic rights and raise pressure on the secular opposition and Kurdish groups.

The AKP has dismissed the criticism and has promised that a new civilian constitution would be adopted.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Barack ObamaTurkey’s role in international politics is growing

“Fears about the future of democracy in Turkey are unfounded,” said Volkan Bozkir, a former career diplomat who has led efforts for Turkey’s campaign for EU membership and is now an AKP deputy candidate for parliament.
“AKP has already been in government as a single party for the last eight and a half years. Turkey has already come closer to an advanced democracy, founded on liberal ideas, freedom and free enterprise, with a larger role for civil society, with basic rights and freedoms guaranteed by the system.”

In the last decade, Turkey has become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It significantly boosted its role in international politics, even at times causing diplomatic rifts between Turkey’s longtime ally, the US, and Israel. While Turkey gained more international recognition as a growing regional power, its record in democratic rights and freedoms has deteriorated in recent years.

Polarization and the suppression of criticism

The Washington-based think tank Freedom House views Turkey as a “partly free” country and criticizes the government for its restrictions on press freedom. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Turkey is currently holding at least 57 journalists in prison. Restrictions on access to the Internet, deliberate and widespread wire-tapping practices and a growing government intolerance of critics are also concerns.

“There is widespread concern that Turkey is heading towards one-man, one-party rule,” said Dogan Tilic, spokesman for the G9 group, a platform of leading Turkish journalist associations. “We are entering into a more difficult period for journalists. More and more journalists are detained. This is very bad for press freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey.”

AKP first came to power in 2002, with 34.3 percent of the vote. In 2007, it won 46.6 percent, but during these two terms, it could not get an absolute majority. If the party now wins 367 seats or more, it will have an absolute majority in parliament and will be able to change the constitution, without the need for a referendum.

A Turkish military school's marching bandThe military has lost some of its sway under Erdogan

Since AKP first came to power, Turkey has faced a deepening polarization between the party and its secular armed forces and judiciary. The AKP has managed to put the military back in the barracks and reduce their role in society.

For the first time in Turkey’s recent history, generals and high level military officials could be charged for alleged coup attempts. Despite sensational claims in the indictments of coup cases, a lack of concrete evidence and long detention period for suspects, the public has become increasingly critical of the military.

The second bastion of secularists, the judiciary, became less ideological following recent reforms, but these reforms meant the government now has more influence on the judiciary. Critics argue that in recent years Turkey has been left without a system of checks and balances. They say that in its new term the AKP may force Islamization through authoritarian rule.

Metin Heper, a professor at Bilkent University, disagrees. “The AKP has come to power through elections. So far it hasn’t made a single attempt to change civil law. The AKP is not trying to make Turkey an Islamic state,” he said.

“If it went down the Islamist route, it would lose most of its electorate. Even though the military today lost its political influence, it cannot stay indifferent to a move by any party that will try to turn Turkey into a theocracy. And if we are talking about EU membership, you will find yourself out of the EU, the moment you leave aside democracy.”

A new constitution for Turkey

One of the AKP’s major promises ahead of the elections is a new constitution, with the existing document drafted after the 1980 military coup and largely reformed during the EU accession campaign. The AKP says it wants to make the military even less political and make way for religious freedoms and, as Erdogan has promised, adopt a presidential system.

“The most important step after the elections will be the new civilian constitution. This will mark the end of military tutelage and the psychology of military coups since 1960,” said former diplomat Bozkir.

“There will be strong foundations in the new constitution to prevent such interventions again. Turkey will have the constitution it deserves. A libertarian constitution, which stresses the role of a civil society and guarantees basic rights and freedoms.”

Kurdish women make V-victory signs as they chant slogans during a demonstration in IstanbulThe issue of Kurds’ rights remains a divisive issue

While almost all political parties agree on limiting the political power of the armed forces, broadening democratic rights and freedoms, two major issues, secularism and broader rights for Kurds, continue to be the most divisive elements of constitutional debate.

The rough election campaign so far, harsh statements and accusations among political leaders have created a tense climate, which limits prospects of consensus on a new constitution after the election. This also deepens the polarization and could block a possible solution to the decades-long Kurdish issue, through accommodating Kurdish demands as part of a new constitution.

“The governing party may adopt a new constitution if it were to win an absolute majority in the parliament. But then the legitimacy of this constitution will be questionable,” said Bilkent University’s Heper.

“Political leaders should move towards reconciliation. Otherwise, the issue of the constitution will once again polarize Turkey. It will divide us into two, three, four. Turkey will face more problems.”

Author: Ayhan Simsek / hf
Editor: Stuart Tiffen

 

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

10 Replies to “Turkey’s Islamist-rooted conservative ruling party is expected to easily win a third term”

  1. Turkey is an interesting creature. A savage arab conquered people who took the knife from their circumcisers and then turned it against these very physical and mental enslavers. Still mentally enslaved but not physically they went through a moment of clarity with Attaturk and almost created a country with a gdp per capita of 13 thousand dollars, but instead created a country with a gdp per capita of 12,300 for the year 2010. Quite bad when you consider how long they have been modernising for. The inbred muzzie can raise himself this far and no further in the ninty or so years since Attaturk launched his modernisation program to bring the country up to stream. It got a third of the way of the modern western countries and claimed to be a mighty nation with a mighty economy! It started bragging about islam and started to think of ways of increasing its mental slavery back to the wonderful times of complete mental and physical enslavement. Will they be able to be as mentally enslaved by the Arabs again. You bet. They have not got the brains to love freedom or to create a fully modern state. The call of Allah for the mentally deficient is just too strong. A fellow boaster nation Iran showed the way and the turks are following with more boasting, islam and a further mental slavery to the thing they love in their inbred dullness: islam.

  2. South Korea by comparison has a gdp per capita of over thirty thousand 200 dollars and has been modernising only after the devastating Korean war of the fifties. They also built the tallest building in the world in Dubai. Samsung did that. You probably think I am south korean but I am not. I am just showing what inbreeding does to the brown islam addled muzzies of the country of Turkey even when ruled by a forward thinking clear sighted man like Attaturk. Now this was a great man for sure but even he could not turn things around. They are going right back to where they feel most happy. Islam. He would pull his hair out if he were around. However, it will be good for the turks to become a nation once again of fanatical muzzies. More death to America marches and flag burning means that the islam the religion of peace mantra will get trashed once again only to be said with ever more urgency by our politicians but of course not believed by the good people of the world namely the noble kuffar.

  3. Strange as it may seem Attaturk actually aided islam. He built a semi modern country that got ideas of going back to allah while trying to overrun the EU. Maybe he should have gone down the route of the great president of Turkmenistan who created his own religion to replace islam; a policy followed by the government after that forward thinking great dictator died. It is men like this who crush islam not people like attaturk who in hindsight aided islam and created the present creature of turkey which wants to come into the EU and unleash it primitive barbarian ideology gained from the Arabs on to the people of Europe. Arab imperilism by proxy I call it.

  4. The Turkish experiment was doomed to failure, Attaturk tried to build a secular nation with a changed moderate Islam as the religion, this doomed his nation to return to slavery under the Mullahs. As the Caliphate rebuilds Turkey will sink deeper and deeper into the swamp that is Islam, and Erdogan will become a contender to be the new Caliph.

  5. The turkish experiment certainly was doomed. It did not take into consideration the staying power of islam for the inbred population. The way to get rid of islam is not not to tolerate it at all but to replace it with something else. This has happened in Turkmenistan where the last pres (now deceased) created a new religion based on his book the Ruknama. This was the way forward. With the turks the failure means that islam is coming back with a vengence so it will be more of their past for them. Their past catches up every day and soon the death to america marches will start as a full time occupation for entire armies of islamic rage boys as is the case with Pakistan and Iran. The only way to eradicate islam is to replace islam.

  6. They needed to replace it with something, something less violent but instead tried to reform it, this is why the people who are worshiping at the alter of the moderate Moslem will discover that they have created monsters that will destroy them.

  7. When the Turkish people elect officials that support a theology/ideology that is trying to take over the world and force us to believe their way all rational people will refuse to respect their choice. All they had to do was choose freedom and instead they chose slavery, but the people in Europe and the US have been voting for people who want to enslave them also so you can condemn us for not respecting their choices either. This is called freedom of thought and expression.

  8. Well said, Richard. Anyway, I think political reform and democracy is just meaningless, if a country is dominated by any islamic influence or totalitarian agenda or
    if it is only to force people to support their backward ideology that tried to discriminate us nonbelievers or discriminate us who don’t believe in their totalitarian ideology under the guise of a political party. Obviously, whereever we are or whatever nationality we are, we want to be equal to who we vote for and one that have basic decent values and not slave to any political party or dictator that have nothing in common with our decent western values.

  9. Lutfi with respect to your comments on democracy:democracy is meant for a population of free people. A population of slaves of allah is not the place for democracy. Neither is it for a nation of cannibals. A cannibal president is the same as a muzzie president. Both ignorant barbarians. Democracy takes into consideration the qualifications of the population. If not a disaster occurs. The disaster of Hamas in the Gaza strip. Now the disaster of impending distaster of Turkey.

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