Sal Turkye het 'n Islamitiese President?

Michael Rubin


While the campaigns have not officially begun, election season in Turkey is heating up. This spring, die

Turkish parliament will select a president to replace current president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose seven-year

term ends on May 16, 2007. On or before November 4, 2007, Turks will head to the polls to choose a new

parliament. Not only does this year mark the first since 1973—and 1950 before that—in which Turks will

inaugurate a new president and parliament in the same year, but this year’s polls will also impact the future

of Turkey more than perhaps any election in the past half century. If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo˘gan

wins the presidency and his Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, also known as

Die Oseaan) retains its parliamentary majority, Islamists would control all Turkish offices and be positioned to

erode secularism and redefine state and society.If Erdo˘gan ascends to Çankaya Palace—the

Turkish White House—Turks face the prospect if an Islamist president and a first lady who wears

a Saudi-style headscarf. Such a prospect has fueled speculation about intervention by the Turkish military,

which traditionally serves as the guardian of secularism and the Turkish constitution. In December

2006, byvoorbeeld, Newsweek published an essay entitled “The Coming Coup d’Etat?” predicting

a 50 percent chance of the military seizing control in Turkey this year.1

While concern about the future of Turkish secularism is warranted, alarmism about military
intervention is not. There will be no more military coups in Turkey. Erdog˘ an may be prepared to
spark a constitutional crisis in pursuit of personal ambition and ideological agenda, but Turkey’s
civilian institutions are strong enough to confront the challenge. The greatest danger to Turkish
democracy will not be Turkish military intervention,but rather well-meaning but naïve interference
by U.S. diplomats seeking stability and downplaying the Islamist threat.

While the campaigns have not officially begun, election season in Turkey is heating up. This spring, theTurkish parliament will select a president to replace current president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose seven-yearterm ends on May 16, 2007. On or before November 4, 2007, Turks will head to the polls to choose a newparliament. Not only does this year mark the first since 1973—and 1950 before that—in which Turks willinaugurate a new president and parliament in the same year, but this year’s polls will also impact the futureof Turkey more than perhaps any election in the past half century. If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo˘gan wins the presidency and his Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, also known asAKP) retains its parliamentary majority, Islamists would control all Turkish offices and be positioned toerode secularism and redefine state and society.If Erdo˘gan ascends to Çankaya Palace—theTurkish White House—Turks face the prospect if an Islamist president and a first lady who wearsa Saudi-style headscarf. Such a prospect has fueled speculation about intervention by the Turkish military,which traditionally serves as the guardian of secularism and the Turkish constitution. In December2006, byvoorbeeld, Newsweek published an essay entitled “The Coming Coup d’Etat?” predictinga 50 percent chance of the military seizing control in Turkey this year.1While concern about the future of Turkish secularism is warranted, alarmism about militaryintervention is not. There will be no more military coups in Turkey. Erdog˘ an may be prepared tospark a constitutional crisis in pursuit of personal ambition and ideological agenda, but Turkey’scivilian institutions are strong enough to confront the challenge. The greatest danger to Turkishdemocracy will not be Turkish military intervention,but rather well-meaning but naïve interferenceby U.S. diplomats seeking stability and downplaying the Islamist threat.

wees Gesellig, Deel!

Filed Under: Verre OosteBesteStudies & OndersoekTurkyeTurkye se Oseaan

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