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The reasons why AK Party won the elections
1.       qdemir
811 posts
 23 Jul 2007 Mon 08:20 am

It was a contest foreign observers described variously as "a battle for Turkey's soul," "the most important election in post-war history" and "a key test of the country's secular tradition." Yet for many Turks, it will be business as usual the morning after Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) cruised comfortably to electoral victory.

The government led by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan becomes the first Turkish government since 1987 to renew its mandate in a general election and the first since 1954 to increase the percentage of its vote. The question is why they did so well.

For a large portion of Turkish voters, the opposition attempt to turn the election into a matter of life and death, an issue of the nation in peril, just simply did not ring true, according to Ergun Ozbudun, professor of constitutional law at Istanbul's Bilgi University. The electorate showed that it is not afraid that the country is drifting uncontrolled to a more Islamic form of government. "They preferred the stability of a government that has done a satisfactory job to the unknown of a coalition," he said.

For Cem Duna, a business consultant who served as Turkey's ambassador to the EU, the AK Party did not so much win the election as push against an open door. "The weakness of Turkish politics is the quality of the opposition. The results might have been different if there had been a viable alternative, a real social democratic party," he said.

However, he acknowledged that many voted AK Party for positive reasons. Improvements in the economy have created a new middle class that has confidence in the AK Party.

"It's the Adnan Menderes syndrome," said author and social psychologist Gündüz Vassaf, referring to Turkey's first post-war prime minister to win a second term in 1954 but who was then overthrown by the 1960 military coup. The military actions in 1971 and again in 1980 were directed against the left, but the military e-memorandum in April, which caused the presidential election in Parliament to be annulled, was regarded as an authoritarian blow against the conservative "heartland" which Tayyip Erdoğan had come to represent.

Kerem Okten, research fellow at St. Antony's College at Oxford, elaborates: "People saw how the 'secularists' unashamedly piggybacked on the military action. It was very transparent to many people the way class politics were masquerading under the guise of upholding secular, civilized values." He also described the AK Party as expanding its base to include those who benefited from the liberal deregulation of the economy. "It's now not just the rich who can afford to take an airplane from Diyarbakir to Istanbul -- and avoid being stuck on a bus for 20 hours," he explained.

Sener Ayata, professor of sociology at Ankara's Middle East Technical University, famously defined the participants in the massive anti-government pro-secular rallies as the real new middle class in Turkey, not the emergent AK Party supporters. He described the AK Party victory as having very little to do with the aborted presidential contest or with the choice between secularism and politicized Islam. He said it was a tribute to a very well-run and well-funded political machine. He described that machine as feeding off municipal contracts and working through private foundations with party links.

Nimet Çubukçu, the lone woman member of the last Cabinet, made no apology for the AK Party being that much better organized than its opponents. There was not a single household which party canvassers hadn't visited. The government also had done its homework and was addressing the needs of individual families. They made special provision for the handicapped, and this had won them the support of millions of households.

The AK Party machine was very different from the "boss politics" of American cities, agreed Nukhet Sirman, professor of anthropology at Istanbul's Bosphorus University, saying, "They take people seriously and they listen to people's real concerns." This contrasts with the opposition, who resorted to whipping up remote fears like the need to invade Iraq. "We have to respect the wishes of the people; this is a democracy," said Didem Engin, a 30-year-old woman and İstanbul candidate for the Republican People's Party (CHP). "We have to learn the lesson from the polls."

"The AK Party did positive things, so the confrontational approach of the opposition just didn't ring true," according to Meto Fadilloglu, owner of Ulus 29, a restaurant that feeds İstanbul's well-heeled elite. Many of his customers have done well from AK Party policies, he said, but added the job the government now faces is to allay the fears of those who voted against them.

Dr. Okten cited the new selection of deputies, people from genuinely liberal backgrounds, as proof that the AK Party is intending to move closer to the center ground. Ambassador Duna agrees. The immediate test will be who Mr. Erdoğan includes in his new Cabinet and whether he will include the new converts to the AK Party cause, names like Mehmet Şimşek, Eruğrul Günay and Haluk Özdalga -- people who have no past in the Islamic movement from which Mr. Erdoğan himself emerged.

The greatest AK Party asset is the prime minister himself, the man who loomed literally larger than life on campaign posters throughout the country. "Tayyip Erdoğan as a strategist is two different people," according to Şerif Mardin, arguably Turkey's most respected social scientist, who is now teaching at Istanbul's Sabanci University. "He understands how the neighborhood is going to vote, but also has a general conception of what the nation wants," he added. How voters think is often very transitory and flexible and often not moored to religion or class. When the prime minister speaks, his notion of the "people" is very different to that of the CHP, which has always been rooted in those who created the revolution.


2.       MalatyaGirl
160 posts
 23 Jul 2007 Mon 10:18 am

Sorry about my ignorance, but is there any information about this party I can read? What their policies/views are, what they hope to achieve for Turkey etc...

My husband cannot explain too well in English and I'm interested to know more.

Thanks! xx

3.       MarioninTurkey
6124 posts
 23 Jul 2007 Mon 10:24 am


Todays Zaman does a pretty good job of explaining, as it is a supporter of them! www.todayszaman.com

Turkish Daily News does a pretty good job of explaining why those who are more secular find them worrying, as it is a spporter of the opposition: www.turkishdailynews.com

If you believe in letting them speak for themselves, their website is www.akparti.org.tr and they have a button to click on for English

4.       MalatyaGirl
160 posts
 23 Jul 2007 Mon 10:31 am

Cheers Marion! Appreciate it!

5.       mavisakal
20 posts
 24 Jul 2007 Tue 02:12 pm

there are many reasons i think. i personally didnt vote for them but i will give you an example.

i am a intern in a factory in istanbul now and the rate of exportation of this factory has increased 100 percent in 3 years. so the factory got 90 new workers this year. they may have islamic roots but we all have to accept that they are very good at economics. i did not vote for them just becasue one of my relatives was a candidate in my homeland for another party

6.       aenigma x
0 posts
 24 Jul 2007 Tue 03:36 pm

Quoting mavisakal:

i did not vote for them just becasue one of my relatives was a candidate in my homeland for another party

Good for you !

7.       mavisakal
20 posts
 24 Jul 2007 Tue 03:46 pm

Quoting aenigma x:

Quoting mavisakal:

i did not vote for them just becasue one of my relatives was a candidate in my homeland for another party

Good for you !

but my stupid uncle's stupid party could not get in the parliamentary. i wasted my vote but i have something at last to tease him now

8.       ruthless87
38 posts
 24 Jul 2007 Tue 05:11 pm

AK Partisi won, because there were no opposition with real program. AKP also used the media really well, didn't remove the %10 election barrage which made voters to vote for either AKP, CHP, MHP. Obviously everyone was scared of MHP and CHP coalition(nationalist coalition) so they voted for AKP. What these people didn't see was that there weren't many differences between AKP, CHP and even MHP. They had the same program and all these talk about nationalism and secularism were there so that real questions are hidden from publics eyes. Just like the Iraq war, nobody in US or UK talks about anything real, those who try to bring real issues are silenced by the media. People in the Turkey and the World nowadays suffer from confusion of concepts. People don't question anything, they don't read and they just believe fanatically (in left and in right). In the world we have representative democracy in which people vote every 4-5 years and that is it for the democracy. Does democracy mean voting every 4-5 years? Well i remember from school that it meant people ruling itself. But when i look at the today's democracies, majority of people don't agree with the decisions of the "elected". Also our democracy has been created by the Army. So can we call this democracy? But Apolitism is being pushed to the youth like it is something good by the media and even the politicians themselves.Most of this youth only say the things it has been taught at school, which are mostly wrong as it never questions it's true. AKP won because of the education system. AKP won because they helped the poor, gave them food and coal. AKP won because they didn't have their program questioned, but their "watches and ships ".Most of the People who voted for AKP says "they steal but they work". So by not removing the election barrage(%1 and also making it very hard for independents to be elected, AKP won. It was the best option from these three as it didn't promote violence whereas the others were very hostile. But this doesn't change the fact that they didn't have any program. If we look at the last 10-20 years , we can see that Islamist parties always had %15-20 votes (even in the Refah Parti time, just like MHP has %10-15 votes today) So they have captured the votes of centre right and liberal democrats which allowed them this victory.

Lastly AKP doesn't support real democracy. Real democracy is direct democracy, where people rule themselves. I hope in the next elections, people vote for someone to represent them,someone they honestly believe, not for someone so that other party doesn't come to power. That is what i have seen from this elections.

9.       Lane
36 posts
 28 Jul 2008 Mon 05:55 pm

Quoting ruthless87:

Real democracy is direct democracy, where people rule themselves. I hope in the next elections, people vote for someone to represent them,someone they honestly believe, not for someone so that other party doesn´t come to power. That is what i have seen from this elections.

Dont worry, not many countries can say they have real democracy. Politics ıs politics in everywhere. Maybe only scandinavian countries can be sure of their democracy.

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