Much is being made in the press of the election in Turkey. If one did not look closely, it would appear that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been summarily tossed from office. Far from it, while his Justice and Development Party (AKP) garnered only 41% of the popular vote, that is far more support than his closest opponent received. He remains in power with a rather substantial plurality of the seats in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Judith Miller at Fox News Opinion sees it like this:
Make no mistake: Turkey’s 76 million people, 86 percent of whom cast votes in the national parliamentary election Sunday, delivered a stunning rebuke to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist who has dominated Turkish politics as prime minister and now president for the past 13 years. Turkish voters ended his government’s 13-year majority rule – and perhaps his effort to consolidate even more personal power — by giving his Justice and Development Party, the AKP, less than 41 percent of the vote, about half of what the party won in the last general election in 2011.
Erdogan and other party officials tried to emphasize the positive. In remarks after Turkish polls closed, Erdogan stressed that the AKP had gotten more votes than any other party. No one else had a mandate to govern, he said, vowing to continue trying to shift Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system. Erdogan has argued that such a shift would produce more efficient government, but critics say a presidential system would lead to even more autocratic rule….
Read all of it.
Over at The UK Guardian, the Brits seem to believe that Erdogan’s worthy opponent, Selahattin Demirtas (photo above – The Guardian), whose People’s Democratic Party garnered 12% of the popular vote, is a “Kurdish Obama.” How reassuring is that. Another Barack Obama in the world. Here’s a part of the Guardian report:
The leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party has emerged as a potent force in national politics after guiding his party past the notoriously tough 10% threshold to win dozens of seats in legislative elections.
In a bruising campaign, Selahattin Demirtas successfully reached out to non-Kurdish voters and won praise for his statesman-like response to a bomb attack on a party rally that killed two people just two days before Sunday’s polls.
Demirtas – dubbed the “Kurdish Obama” for his good looks and dynamic speaking style – will now lead 79 MPs from his Peoples’ Democratic Party in the new parliament after taking more than 13% of the vote…
I wonder if people fall unconscious, swooning in his presence. 13% of the vote. I can’t forget my history lessons. In nations which are fractured into many political factions, as post WWI Germany was, it doesn’t take a whole lot of parliamentary seats to swing power one way or the other. An extremely violent minority can do it quite handily. Reading on down the page a bit:
…After completing his studies at the prestigious Ankara University, Demirtas worked as a human-rights lawyer in Diyarbakir before going into politics in 2007…
Human-rights lawyer. In a Muslim state they have human rights? Really? I wonder. I know I’m being skeptical here, but the Kurds are a Muslim people. These are Muslim politics. Sometimes, in Muslim politics (or internecine Muslim wars) it’s not possible to find the good guys – because there aren’t any good guys.
…His brother Nurettin was jailed in the past for being a member of the PKK, which has fought a decades-long insurgency for self-rule.
Nurettin Demirtas is now in the Kandil mountains in northern Iraq where the group is based…
So, what’s his brother doing in the mountains of northern Iraq? Hiding? And what’s this insurgency for self rule business? Sounds like a sort of violent revolt to me.
Read the entire Guardian report by clicking here.
With a hat tip to Bobbie for the link, Time.com’s Karl Vick presents the election results in the most emotional framework, calling the election a loss for Erdogan and a victory for democracy:
Before power went to his head, Turkey’s president empowered the voters who in Sunday’s election abruptly blunted his rise
Turks dealt a staggering blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday in the only language he understands: votes. The invigorating result was to reaffirm the exciting changes that Erdogan engineered in Turkish society when he first emerged as the nation’s leader a dozen years ago—the same changes that Sunday’s result showed Erdogan failed to properly appreciate. He thought it was all about him.
The great and historic success of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, known by the Turkish-language initials AKP, was in empowering the heartland voters the country’s governing elite had never quite trusted. Built as a parliamentary democracy, Turkey was crippled through most of its first eight decades in existence by the paradoxical unwillingness of the people in power to abide by the wishes of the electorate…
Leave it to the American press to be sucked into backing any Middle Eastern World of Islam revolt (electoral or violent) which may not turn out so well down the road. Remember Libya before and after Ghadaffi fell? I do. Remember Egypt under Mubarek and what followed his ouster? I do. Anyone remember what replaced the Shah of Iran? I do. How about what’s happening in Syria right now with Bashar Assad under siege? Not one of those revolts was generated by Jeffersonian motives, ladies and gents. They are Muslim civil wars, which have raged off and on since Muhammad’s death in the 7th century.
Meanwhile, reading on down the Time.com page:
…Again and again, the country’s military grabbed power whenever things were going in a direction the generals deemed dangerous. Each time, their excuse for seizing power was safeguarding the “secular democracy” put in place by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the charismatic former officer who shaped a modern state from the remains of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Ataturk died in 1938, but the paternalism of his early state lived on. It even had a name: Kemalism, a kind of governing rigidity, hostile to religious expression and deeply invested in “the state,” that critics said Ataturk himself would have disowned for stunting the growth of a mature democracy.
Ah, yes, the vile Mr. Ataturk, who drove from power the people who had just slaughtered one and one-half million Armenians at the end of World War I, an Ottoman Empire jihad genocide which the Turks have yet to acknowledge. Ataturk dissolved the Caliphate and westernized Turkey. Ataturk kept the jihadis and shariah-mongers out of the government, by force. Apparently Mr. Vick needs to do his history homework. Or perhaps he thought the Caliphate and all the horrors it wrought on humanity were a good thing. I don’t know what he thinks or knows about Muslim history.
And I don’t know what this election means in the long run. Erdogan, who is a mainstream Muslim shariah man, is still in power, regardless of what the American Press is telling us. A whole lot of Turks voted for him. As for Mr. Demirtas, is anything, or anyone, in the World of Islam ever really as it first appears?