Turkey’s Election Cements Its Pro-Islam Direction
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (akp) won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections on June 12 with 50 percent of the vote. It won by a larger margin than it did in the previous elections in 2007.
Because of a quirky rule about how political parties are assigned parliamentary seats, however, the akp actually lost 15 seats. Now with 325 of the 550 seats, it failed to gain the supermajority it hoped for in order to change the constitution unilaterally. This means the status quo in Turkey remains much the same, with the Islamist-rooted akp remaining in power as the most powerful party in the country.
Economic growth in Turkey during the akp’s time in power has been largely credited for the party’s success. However, two other important factors contributed just as much to its win: the appeal of the akp’s Islamic orientation to Turkey’s Muslim population, and the anti-Western and anti-Israel direction the akp has taken Turkey’s foreign policy.
Since Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan first came to power in 2002 elections, he has slowly taken the secularist country in a more religious direction, seeking to bring Islamic culture into the public and political spheres. Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, says the elections in fact mark an Islamist revolution by stealth. He says Turkey is at a turning point: “Of course, it will take time, but now Turkey is set on a path that is ending the republic established by Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s. The Turkey of secularism and Western orientation is finished. … In short, the akp is entrenched in power, and can now proceed with the fundamental transformation of Turkey” (Jerusalem Post, June 13).
In his victory speech, Erdogan underlined his anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian stance: “Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul; Beirut won as much as Izmir; Damascus won as much as Ankara; Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem won as much as Diyarbakir.” The Turkish prime minister was sending the message that he fully intends to support the Palestinian cause against Israel.
“[S]een from Jerusalem the strategic balance in the Middle East is looking increasingly dangerous, and Erodgan’s remarks have only heightened this feeling of insecurity,” writes Courcy’s Intelligence Brief. It continues:
Israel sees Hamas spreading its influence from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank by way of a unity government with Fatah; it sees Egypt moving away from Camp David and facilitating the rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah; it sees Hezbollah consolidating its power in Lebanon; it sees chaos in Libya, Syria and Yemen (along with the possible return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan) providing space for post-bin Laden al Qaeda to regroup; and it sees little prospect of the nuclear-weapon-seeking Iranian regime succumbing to the democratic waves sweeping the Middle East.
Now, on top of all that, Turkey has reelected the akp for a third term, in part because of the akp’s steering of Turkish foreign policy away from its pro-Western orientation towards a policy based on Muslim leadership. And such a policy, as Erdogan has made clear, has to include opposition to Israel.
The Trumpet wrote back in November/December 2007: “Any shift within Turkey away from secularism and toward Islam could help alter the balance of power in the Middle East—most notably, in favor of Iran.”
Watch as Turkey treads a course that prophecy reveals will ultimately be deadly for Israel, America and Britain. But, as we wrote back in 2007, that is not the end of the story: “The biblical prophecies regarding events in the Middle East are clear: A Muslim-Jewish war is about to erupt—initiated by Islamic forces clearly unrestrained by Turkey or anything else. That conflagration will trigger a series of events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”