Turkey’s Poor Vote Against IMF

The Turkish elections on Sunday gave the victory to the AK (Party of Justice and Development), a moderate Islamic Party which was formed a year ago. Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, cannot become Prime Minister because he was imprisoned in 1999 for inciting religious hatred, after reading out a poem in public.

The AK will have to present an alternative figure for the Turkish President Ahmet Necdet to nominate as Prime Minister, which will cause a breach with the norm, since the President customarily appoints the leader of the party which receives most votes. The elections were called nearly two years before they were due, because of a government crisis caused by growing unrest in the country and the debilitated physical condition of the 77-year-old Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan fought his election campaign with a message to Turkey’s poor that he will look after their interests, possibly by renegotiating part of Turkey’s huge foreign debt after the IMF loaned Turkey 31 billion USD, on condition that strict measures of financial containment were introduced, which hit the poorest the hardest. Turkey has 2 million people unemployed in its worst economic crisis in 40 years.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that his party is “ready to do its duty” after winning 35% of the vote, corresponding to around 250 of the Parliament’s 550 seats. In second place is the CHP (Popular Republican Party, Social Democrats) formed by Mustafa Kemal, with around 20% of the vote. Bulent Ecevit’s DSP (Democratic Left Party), along with the ANAP (Motherland Party) and MHP (Nationalist Right Movement Party) failed to achieve 10% of the votes and so will be excluded from the new parliament.

Edogan promises to modernise Turkey’s economy paying attention to social values, to steer Turkey successfully into the European Union.


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