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Turkey - Election turmoil (Islamists vs. Secularists)

Old 05-01-07, 02:04 PM
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Turkey - Election turmoil (Islamists vs. Secularists)

BBC News link
Turkish poll crisis goes to court

Turkey's disputed election of a new president - pitting secularists against the ruling Islamist-rooted AK party - has gone to the constitutional court.
The court is now examining a petition from the opposition to cancel the election of a new president.


As many as one million people marched through Istanbul on Sunday, opposing presidential candidate Abdullah Gul.

Turkey's currency has tumbled amid fears the army may block the election of Mr Gul, the foreign minister.


Mr Gul says there is no question of him withdrawing from the presidential election.

His wife wears the Islamic headscarf, which remains highly controversial in Turkey.

The first round of the election in parliament ended in disarray on Friday amid a dispute about the number of deputies present for the vote.

The secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), which boycotted Friday's vote, said it would challenge the election in court because a quorum of MPs had not been obtained - a charge the AK (or Justice and Development Party) denies.

Establishment pressure

A second round of voting is due on Wednesday and the court has said it will try to rule on the appeal before the vote.

TURKISH ARMY INTERVENTIONS
Coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980
Forced out first Islamist prime minister in 1997

Army warning stirs press
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The powerful military has said it is ready to act to protect Turkey's separation of religion and state.

If the court upholds the CHP position and cancels the presidential election, the ruling would trigger an early general election.

The business elite has called for an early general election to calm the tensions.

The AK, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has an overwhelming majority in parliament.

It has sharply criticised the army threat to intervene in politics, saying the military must remain under civilian control.

Mr Erdogan named Mr Gul as the AK candidate after more than 300,000 secularists rallied in Ankara two weeks ago to prevent Mr Erdogan himself standing.

The prime minister is due to make a televised address to the nation at 2015 (1715 GMT) on Monday.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said the row is "a clear test case whether the Turkish armed forces respect democratic secularisation and democratic values".

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says the army statement on Friday night caused a real stir in Turkey.

The army has carried out three coups in the last 50 years - in 1960, 1971 and 1980 - and in 1997 it intervened to force Turkey's first Islamist Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, from power.

The AK is an offshoot of Mr Erbakan's Welfare Party, which was banned in 1998.


Istanbul saw a massive show of support for secular institutions
This is very interesting because it concerns the debate within the Islamic world about religious law vs. secular law governing Middle Eastern societies. I think Europe and the US need to get closer to Turkey as they seem like the only moderate Islamic state out there these days. Their desire for secularism should be a model for the Middle Eastern world.
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Old 05-01-07, 02:10 PM
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I don't think us getting involved would do much besides rile up the Islamists.
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Old 05-01-07, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I don't think us getting involved would do much besides rile up the Islamists.
I don't think we should send troops over there or anything like that, but when the dust settles from this if the secularists prevail, we need to buddy up to them. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I don't think we should send troops over there or anything like that, but when the dust settles from this if the secularists prevail, we need to buddy up to them. That's all I'm saying.


Which will do what to the islamists and other fundamentalists?



At any rate, it is as I've often said about Turkey here; it matters not because of who really runs that nation.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
At any rate, it is as I've often said about Turkey here; it matters not because of who really runs that nation.
Who would that be?
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Old 05-01-07, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Who would that be?
The almighty EU.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
The almighty EU.
Actually he's talking about the military.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Which will do what to the islamists and other fundamentalists?
I find it odd that you support waging a war to "Fight for Democracy in the heart of the Middle East," but you don't think showing support for a secular Islamic state is a good idea.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Who would that be?

The military, (as already pointed out by Vin), which keeps ties with the US and the EU.


As an aside, the Turkish High Court annulled the vote earlier today.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
The military, (as already pointed out by Vin), which keeps ties with the US and the EU.


As an aside, the Turkish High Court annulled the vote earlier today.
Ah, yes, of course.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I find it odd that you support waging a war to "Fight for Democracy in the heart of the Middle East," but you don't think showing support for a secular Islamic state is a good idea.


I don't believe I ever said I didn't support that idea, did I?
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Old 05-01-07, 03:48 PM
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I don't know if anyone has noticed but things are getting worse in Turkey, not better. They're under increasing pressure to go religious politically every day (and don't you think this ideology can filter down into the military structure?). I don't think just being silent on that is the way to go. I think this story is big news, but it's getting very little play here.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:51 PM
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I am all for supporting Turkey, but I don't think the US can do it effectively. Our better option is to support a stron EU and let them support Turkey.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I am all for supporting Turkey, but I don't think the US can do it effectively. Our better option is to support a strong EU and let them support Turkey.
From what I have read the EU is quite divided on Turkey, so a strong EU supporting Turkey may not even be a possibility.
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Old 05-01-07, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I am all for supporting Turkey, but I don't think the US can do it effectively. Our better option is to support a stron EU and let them support Turkey.
The funny thing is that the EU doesn't want Turkey. They're being morans in that sense I think. Turkey is much closer to Europe culturally than the ME, but don't think that they won't look for financial avenues with countries like Iran if Europe continues to thumb their nose at them.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
Regular Europeans simply do not want seventy million more Muslims in their midsts, even though they will seldom state it as plainly, and feel progress in Turkey is not their responsibility.
But they're accepting them with open arms within their own countries. That argument doesn't make much sense.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
But they're accepting them with open arms within their own countries. That argument doesn't make much sense.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but with EU membership there will no longer be any policies to limit immigration from Turkey.

Europe may be fine with the door cracked open to Turkish immigration, but making it wide open may be another thing.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:31 PM
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http://www.islamicpopulation.com/europe_islam.html

I don't know how accurate that site is, but if you add up Western Europe (which is basically what we're talking about here) UK included, the total comes to about 12.37 million. Ok, Turkey has 70 million, but they're not all coming over to Western Europe.

Maybe they're not all open arms, but France definitely is. They've got 10% of the population as Muslim now.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega

Maybe they're not all open arms, but France definitely is. They've got 10% of the population as Muslim now.
True, but isn't the reason France has a high muslim immigration is due to their legacy from former colonies and not really being welcoming to immigrants?
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Old 05-01-07, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Nazgul
True, but isn't the reason France has a high muslim immigration is due to their legacy from former colonies and not really being welcoming to immigrants?
Yes, the majority of them come from former French colonies. They still don't have to let them in do they? I mean they're being nice since they used to rule them and all, but each colony is now it's own soverign country.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:22 PM
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Hmmmm. Whom would O'Reilly root for - Islamists or Secularists? That's got to be a tough one.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Hmmmm. Whom would O'Reilly root for - Islamists or Secularists? That's got to be a tough one.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Hmmmm. Whom would O'Reilly root for - Islamists or Secularists? That's got to be a tough one.
It's a tough one for me too. I have a lot of trouble cheering for either a democractically elected Islamic theocracy, or on the other side a secular military dictatorship that creates a police state and steps in with a coup every few years. Unfortunately, these seem to be the two main choices throughout the Islamic world--Bush didn't understand that, and the result is the mess in Iraq. And IMO, until we see a major reform movement within mainstream Islam that makes the religion compatible with secular modernity, these are the choices we're going to have for the forseeable future.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
No. They've made it clear the only way they'll take Turkey in is with strong immigration restrictions, possibly permanent. But even so, the prospect of this large and growing Muslim population eventually bursting upon the French boulevards and Austrian streets scare the hell out of them. And would you blame them?

Hell, they even severely limit population movements from eastern EU members.
a lot of europeans have have asian roots from areas where the turks originally came from before they conquered turkey, so i don't know what the big deal is. the long lost cousins are coming over.
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Old 05-13-07, 07:38 PM
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Yahoo Story

Turks rally against pro-Islamic leaders

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer Sun May 13, 12:33 PM ET

IZMIR, Turkey - Choking the highways and crammed onto ferries, hundreds of thousands of Turks streamed into this port city on Sunday in an enormous show of opposition to the pro-Islamic ruling party, increasing pressure on the government ahead of early elections.
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Some 1.5 million protesters carried anti-government banners, red-and-white Turkish flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the secular republic in 1923. Turkish flags hung from balconies and windows, as well as buses and fishing boats and yachts bobbing in Izmir's bay.

"I am here to defend my country," said Yuksel Uysal, a teacher. "I am here to defend Ataturk's revolution."

Throughout the morning, thousands were trying to reach Izmir and highways leading to the city were at a standstill. Municipal authorities said some 200,000 people sailed in on ferries.

The political turmoil displayed the growing secular-Islamic rift in this mainly Muslim country of 75 million that is vying for
European Union membership and whose secular laws, enshrined in the constitution, are fiercely guarded by the judiciary and by the military.

Thousands of police were deployed, a day after a bomb at an Izmir market killed one person and injured 14 others. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, nor evidence that it was linked to the demonstration. Izmir, on Turkey's Aegean coast, is a bastion of secularism, and Islamic parties fare poorly there.

The rally was organized as a show of strength ahead of general elections on July 22, and follows similar demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul last month. A military official in Izmir, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said the rally drew some 1.5 million people.

The rallies increased pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, which nominated a presidential candidate deemed by the secular establishment to be Islamist.

The candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, was forced to suspend his bid after the opposition boycotted the voting process in parliament. But the political turmoil exposed a deepening rift in Turkey, which has a secular legacy designed to separate state and religion.

Some protesters wore paper hats with the slogan: "No to Islamic law, no to military coups: a democratic Turkey" in a show that they did not approve of a military threat last month to intervene in the presidential elections in order to safeguard secularism. The military has ousted civilian governments in the past.

"These rallies have been useful in forcing the government to take a step back," said one of the protesters, Neslihan Erkan. "The danger is still not over. These rallies must continue until there is no longer a threat."

Gul, Erdogan's close ally, abandoned his presidential bid after pro-secular lawmakers boycotted two rounds of voting in parliament, creating a political deadlock.

Erdogan's government called early general elections and passed a constitutional amendment to let the people, instead of parliament, elect the president. The amendment must be endorsed by the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

Gul has indicated he could run for president in a popular vote.

Secularists fear that if Gul becomes president, the pro-Islamic ruling party could challenge the country's secular system unchecked. Sezer, a staunch secularist, had acted as a brake on the government by vetoing numerous bills and blocking the appointment of hundreds of officials.

Erdogan spent time in jail in 1999 for reciting an Islamic poem that prosecutors said amounted to a challenge to Turkey's secular system. Many of his party's members, including Gul, are pious Muslims who made their careers in the country's Islamist political movement.

Erdogan's supporters have spoken against restrictions on wearing Islamic-style head scarves in government offices and schools and supporting religious schools. His government also tried to criminalize adultery before being forced to back down under intense European Union pressure, and some party-run municipalities have taken steps to ban alcohol.

However, Erdogan's government rejects the claim that it has an Islamist agenda. It has done more than many other governments to implement Western-style reforms as part of its effort to join the European Union.

Some protesters in Izmir held banners that denounced the EU, which many Turkish nationalists believe is interfering in their country's affairs, as well as the United States, whose forces occupy neighboring
Iraq.

1.5 million protesters. Wow!
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