Sunday, July 22, 2007

Turkey - Ruling Party Well Ahead In Elections

By Cernig

The AP reports that the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Erdogan is winning by a comfortable margin in today's election, according to polls.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's Islamic-rooted ruling party led parliamentary elections Sunday with 39.2 percent of the votes counted, CNN-Turk television reported. channel. The election is viewed as pivotal in determining the balance between Islam and secularism in the nation of more than 70 million.

The Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won 49.5 percent of the votes, the station said after polls closed.

Turkey's NTV television had similar results.

The main opposition group, the Republican People's Party, was in second place with 17.2 percent.
There are some major differences in ideology bubbling under this election. Erdogan's party is markedly Islamic which has created some clashes with the predominantly secular military - and even rumors of a coup to preserve Turley's secular character. However, there's one issue on which all the major parties and the military agree - if Iraq and the US will not curb incursions by the terrorist PKK, then Turkey will invade Kurdish Iraq and do the job itself. Once the elections are decided, there's going to be a rapidly narrowing window to prevent that invasion, which would end any hopes the Bush administration have of describing Iraq as anything other than a complete disaster.

But while the Bush administration have looked the other way for four years, hypocritically ignoring their own rhetoric about fighting all terrorism everywhere and trading PKK safe haven for a quiet Kurdish North, their enabling WormTongues are already preparing to blame others for that impending disaster. Reuters, in a report today on the strength of the PKK, says that:
In Washington, conservatives place the onus for defusing the potentially explosive border tension on Masoud Barzani, the president of the KRG.

A few days before the Turkish vote, Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told a session of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that Barzani "should expel PKK terrorists" from their strongholds.
A typical sidestep.

Update ABC News has a Reuters report calling the elections a decisive victory for Erdogan's party:
Turkey's ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party won nearly 50 percent of the vote in a decisive national election victory on Sunday, early results showed.

The stronger than expected showing gives the pro-business party a mandate for reform but potentially sets the stage for renewed tensions with the secular elite, a few months after a clash over who should be president triggered the early election.

...The respected Konda polling agency said the partial results would give the AK Party 334 seats -- down from 352 before -- the CHP would gain 94 and the MHP 88 seats.

Electoral commission officials estimated turnout at around 80 percent in the large Muslim country of 74 million people.

..."Obviously (the results) give a mandate to the AKP to go ahead ... But there are messages in the increase of the MHP vote, there is nationalist sensitivity there," said Semih Idiz, a columnist for the centrist Milliyet daily.

"I don't think (the army) is happy but they're not going to roll the tanks out. They will explore means of making themselves felt, bearing in mind it's a government with a strong mandate."

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