And the result of Turkish elections is:
Turkey’s ruling AK Party won a resounding election victory on Sunday, giving the pro-business, Islamist-rooted party a mandate for reform but risking fresh tensions with the secular elite.
The result is a moral triumph for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who called early parliamentary polls after losing a battle with the establishment, including army generals, who did not want his ex-Islamist ally as head of state. With nearly all votes counted, his party won 47 percent, up some 13 points on 2002, but a more united opposition means it will get around 341 out of 550 seats, slightly fewer than now.
“This is the first time in 52 years that a party in power has increased its votes for a second term,” Erdogan told thousands of jubilant supporters outside his party’s plush new headquarters in the capital Ankara where fireworks lit the sky.
“We will continue to work with determination to achieve our European Union goal,” he said of strained efforts to join the bloc and anchor his country more firmly to the West. Only two other, secularist, parties crossed the 10 percent threshold into parliament — the nationalist-minded Republican People’s Party (CHP) on 21 percent and the far-right National Movement Party (MHP) on 14 percent.
Business Week titles its article “Islamic pragmatists triumph in Turkey“:
It wasn’t just headscarf-clad women and devout moustached men who voted for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), as cliché would have it. Polling analysts said more than half its support came from people with a secular background who wanted Turkey to keep on reforming, to remain business-friendly and to continue to open itself up to Europe — goals shared by many religious voters as well. Erdogan’s AKP has done more in this regard than any of its predecessor governments, however secular.
I posted a link some weeks ago about the real agenda of Turkish moderate Islamists and Turkish entry on the EU. But EU leaders continue not to consider this: the EU has congratulated Erdogan about his triumph:
“It is essential that the new government will relaunch the legal and economic reforms with full determination and concrete results,” Mr Rehn (EU Enlargement Commissioner) said.
“We need to see concrete progress on such fundamental freedoms as the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion.”
The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, also welcomed the victory, saying the vote came “at an important moment for the people of Turkey”.
The UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said it was very important for Europe to “reach out” to the new government.
“A stable and secure political situation in Turkey is massively in our interest and we will certainly want to be taking forward our links with this very important country,” he added.
Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said everyone was interested in having a “modern, dynamic, successful Turkey as a partner”.
“We expect this government that has a good track record over the past years to continue with even more ambition,” she said.
More about Turkish situation here.