The results of the recent parliamentary elections in Turkey most likely display a serious change in the country located on the borderline between Europe and Asia. It seems that Turkey as a secular and pro-Western country does not exist anymore. Instead the world will have to deal with the country that realizes its international significance. It has become a nation that has absolutely no shame about non-Western constituents of its history and culture.
As a result of the parliamentary vote in Turkey, the secular part of the Turkish political elite with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer at the head tried to subdue attempts of the ruling Islamic Party of Justice and Development chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to promote its presidential candidate. The nation’s Army supported the initiative of the Turkish president, which made PM Erdogan agree upon early elections. It is worthy of note that the elections were originally believed to be an event aimed to revise the idea of the expressively secular organization of the entire nation, as founded by President Kemal Ataturk.
The revision took place, although Islamites and their leader, the prime minister of Turkey continue to emphasize that the ideas of the founding father of the Turkish Republic will be preserved. On the other hand, the Islamic Party of Justice and Development will use the support of the Turkish population to put secular values aside. Democracy watchdogs have nothing to complain of: a party similar to that of Erdogan’s may have even a greater support in any other European state.
Turkey ’s current economic rise – the declining level of unemployment and inflation rate, the growth of economy and the inflow of foreign investments, etc explain the transformation of the country. The Party of Justice and Development won the elections with the help of a large, stable and growing group of electors. The group mostly consists of wealthy residents of Turkey, conservative and religious individuals who have no support for the political agenda of the traditional liberal elite. The latter, as well as other citizens who did not vote for Erdogan’s party, were shocked to deal with such an outcome of the vote. They simply do not want to acknowledge that the majority of Turkey lives under traditional religious values.
The conflict of secular and religious values may provoke a number of serious crises in Turkey. As for the Party of Justice and Development, it is a moderate Islamic organization. The party seems to be an outwardly secular bloc, aimed to cooperate with Europe and run liberal economic policies. However, there is such a possibility that the Party may turn down secularism and lead the entire nation in an absolutely different direction.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov