Murphy's Law: Turkish Delight

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March 20,2008: Although the Turkish ruling party, the "Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP, or Justice and Development Party)" is generally regarded as religiously very conservative or even Islamist, in practice it is not what you might expect. During the 2007 elections (in which it received the largest bloc of the vote, 46.6 percent), it seems to have captured a majority of the votes of the country's small Armenian (c. 65,000) and Jewish (c. 25,000) communities, and may have also gotten a major chunk of the Greek votes too (Greek population is 3,000-5,000). Most Kurds also voted for the AKP. Apparently the party's anti-corruption, free market, and anti-authoritarian stances, are a major draw for these minorities.

Also, while the AKP has expressed concerns over Moslems in the Balkans, they've pretty much ignored the Palestinians, and actually strengthened Turkey's already strong links to Israel. While Turkey is a Moslem nation, they share, with Israel, a mutual animosity for the Arabs.

The AKP is also supposed to be at odds with the army, which considers itself the guardian of secular values established by the army in Turkey 80 years ago. The AKP wants more Islam in Turkish life, but this has not prevented the army and AKP in cooperating in the war against the radical PKK Kurds, or in modernizing the military. The AKP still wants to reduce the power the generals have over the government, but Turks also have a tradition of closing ranks and working out differences when confronted with threats. The AKP considers Islamic and Kurdish terrorists to be a threat.

 


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