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Tuesday 5 November 2002

Turkey [lurks]

Another country has fallen to the hard-line Islamics. 15-years of relatively moderate coalition government in Turkey was swept aside by the landslide win of the Justice and Development Party (AK). This despite the fact that the leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (apparently a name and not just a random jumble of letters) is banned from politics due to being found guilty of Islamic sedition.

He was one of those militant types that stood up and made lots of speeches about taking up arms against the infidel etc. He appears to have moderated his tone a little in public, insisting Islam will not be foisted on the people of Turkey but I wonder what the reality will be like. The eyes will be on the puppet leader which must be chosen to head the party in his place.

Let's hope the brains behind the operation has genuinely transformed into a more moderate individual or the threat of Islamic militants will grow yet greater with more institutionalized government support.


  1. One has to wonder just how much of this, and other recent Islamic power grabs, is due to the 'us vs. them' attitude - and how much of this is fostered by US foreign policy, mid-century, and very recently.

  2. Difficult to say. I don't know enough about Turkey to comment there but historically militant islamism has more to do with the conditions within a country than much else. Turkey is a reluctant ally of the US, there's some bases there I believe. I'm not sure how much the average Islamic Turk cares about Palestine etc. It'd be interesting to ask one, I'll try remember when I order my next kebab :)

  3. I'm not entirely convinced that this party is particularly hardline Islamic; there were several features on them in places like The Economist over the past few months which basically seemed to conclude that actually they're a very moderate and quite sensible party who have been tarred with a nasty brush because of stuff their leader did when he was a lot younger. Obviously they could be just presenting a publicly acceptable face, but they do seem very keen on sorting the econonomy out and joining the EU, which is a big hurdle Turkey is facing - and they do have quite a lot of female members (wearing sensible western clothes no less) which is reassuring. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

  4. Should have known which side you'd fall on :) Firstly, the guy was banned in 1998 and not for things he did when he was a kid. He was responsibile for banning alcohol from all cafes which to my mind demonstrates quite clearly his desire to set up an Islamic state and not a tolerant state. However, the reason he was banned is because he has a criminal record and that came about from reading the following in public;

    'The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers...'

    Which again I think tells you a fair bit about this bloke but on the other hand, it's pretty lame giving someone a criminal record and thus barring them from any politics just for doing it. Still at the end of the day, I don't think his party is about combating heavy handedness like that. This is just not the Islamic agenda, it's to be more authoritarian, not less.