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Turkey’s Local Elections: Actors, Factors, and Implications 19 mars 2014

Posted by Acturca in Istanbul, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Report (BPC) March 2014, 32 p.
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)

Foreign Policy Project

On March 30, 2014, Turks will vote in municipal elections amid an ongoing political conflict within the Islamic conservative movement between two former allies turned bitter foes. Though sharp divisions within Turkish society are hardly new, the fault line along which the current clash is being contested opened up only within the last three years. These elections, however, are unlikely to speed its resolution.

As recently as five years ago, the main division animating Turkish politics appeared to be the one between the secular, nationalist Kemalist establishment and the Islamic conservative movement. For many decades, as the military repeatedly intervened in politics, Turkey’s democratic progress was interrupted in the name of preserving its secular, liberal order. This struggle continued after the Islamic-rooted AKP came to power in 2002, but with the roles reversed. Thus, it was still along the secular-Islamist fault line that the 2007 presidential election was fought. And in the following years, the flashpoints in Turkish politics included the debate over the Islamic headscarf, the efforts by secularist prosecutors to ban the ruling AKP from politics, and the alleged attempts by secularists in the military and in society to plot coups against the AKP government.

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