Erdogan’s Islamic conservatism continues
Prime Minister wins Presidency with 52% of national vote
August 10th 2014 | Istanbul | Bartu Kaleagasi
Today, the Republic of Turkey held its first ever direct Presidential Elections. The current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, secured his position as the next President with a simple majority (52%) of the national vote.
If you haven’t yet read our pre-election analysis, here it is.
As expected, the Western and Southern coasts of Turkey were in full support of CHP candidate Ihsanoglu (39%), whilst central and rural Turkey voted for AKP candidate Erdogan. This stark geographical difference may reflect the clear divide between Turkey’s modernised cities and its more traditional regions. In the East, citizens gave their votes to Demirtas (9%), candidate of the socialist HDP which represents the country’s Kurdish minority.
Upon hearing the news of his presidency, in an unprecedented turn of events, Erdogan’s first action was to visit a mosque in order to perform what was described as a “victory prayer”.
In a constitutionally secular country like the Republic of Turkey, this may be a worrying decision. The position of President, head of state, representing the nation as a whole, should not be endorsing religious prayers as a way of celebrating supposed success. We strongly condemn Erdogan’s actions; they represent a dangerous blow to the separation of religious and governmental affairs.
With regards to the results, numbers may not represent the true situation in Turkey. Erdogan’s party, AKP, is widely known to have purchased votes through bribery, held extravagant rallies in order to spread propaganda, threatened workers’ food stamps to gain their votes, and printed fake vote ballots to cheat the system through electoral fraud. Furthermore, the moderate Islamic party has disproportionate access to financial funds, total control over news media, and state resources such as the police. Without a doubt, had the playing ground been more equitable, Erdogan’s vote may not have exceeded the necessary 50% threshold for presidency.
The people have chosen, but Erdogan remains the same autocratic and hostile politician he has always been. For those who haven’t read our previous analysis, we leave you with a summary of everything he has done to reduce Turkey’s freedom of speech and secular democracy:
“Erdogan has fined TV stations for blasphemy, banned access to both Youtube and Twitter, trialled leftist military officers with frivolous charges of “coup plans”, banned alcohol between 10pm and 6am, displayed several instances of serious anti-Semitism, lobbied against abortion rights, jailed more journalists than any other nation in the world, constructed the largest expansion of mosques in history using taxpayer money, conspired a false flag attack on Syria, repeatedly insulted protesters by calling them “vandals” and “alcoholics”, removed the Turkish Republic’s “T.C.” initials from government buildings, taken control of Turkish media through bribery and police arrest threats, banned advertisements and TV shows displaying alcohol, led to the death of 301 miners in Soma due to inadequate safety regulations, attacked peaceful protesters with chemically-treated water cannons, blamed his critics of being controlled by Jews and “Jewish corporations”, and then blamed stray cats for a blackout during local elections which led to mass voter fraud and thus the disintegration of democracy in Turkey.”