The elections are coming in two months. The leftists include two Jews whose-families converted to Islam in the 1920’s, Al Gore types, western-oriented and American-bred. They’ve split off from Prime Minister Ecevit, and then from each other, and there are now something like 27 secular parties (at last count) who will all be running against pretty much one religious party. I’ve seen this movie before. I can see why people would vote for the religious party – the secular politicians are factionalized, corrupt, and anti-charismatic; the general economic condition sucks; and the European Union wants nothing to do with Turkey. Elif and Dilek are optimistic. I think it’s not unlikely that the religious party will win again with 25% of the vote, just like in 1995, and that we may some day have to add another chapter to our movie.
On the way out of the country yesterday, at Ataturk International Airport, Elif voted in the elections by absentee ballot. She was one of the first in the country to vote, and as she put her ballot in the box, she was interviewed. They asked her who she voted for, and she answered, “Look at what I’m wearing, my physical appearance.” Dilek tells us that the interview made the TV news last night.
Postscript (from Wikipedia):
On November 18, 2002, Abdullah Gül, from the AKP (the Islamic “Justice and Development Party“) was elected prime minister and formed “a government which was to serve as a transitional government. The goal was to make a constitutional amendment, in order to permit Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, the chairman of the AKP to become prime minister (as Erdo?an could not be elected to parliament because of his punishment), thanks to a by-election round in the south-eastern Anatolian province of Siirt. On March 14, 2003, Erdo?an took over the post of prime minister from Abdullah Gül and appointed him as his deputy prime minister and foreign minister.”