Ariel Cohen: Upcoming elections in Turkey are truly historic

Politics Materials 27 May 2011 14:12 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 27 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /

The elections scheduled for June 12 are truly historic in Turkey, Ariel Cohen, Leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, member of Trend Expert Council, believes.

"An unprecedented third victory by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan will give him a clear mandate to continue and expand internal Islamic reforms and more Middle East-oriented policy abroad," Cohen told Trend.
He said one of the burning questions is, did the recent secret sex-and-videotapes leaks and scandals, aimed at the MHP nationalist party are destroying its chances to clear the 10 percent barrier into the parliament.

If MHP is not in the Parliament, AKP may get a constitutional majority.

"It will allow Erdogan to change the constitution and become an executive president, pushing President Abdullah Gul to the background - and possibly even out of the country, to a prestigious international post. Erdogan is also trying to eliminate Gul supporters from the AKP Parliamentary list to expand and enhance his personal power in the country's political system," he said.

Cohen believes domestically, such a change will make Erdogan the most powerful Turkish leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, but not necessarily in the directions that are right for the country's political and economic development. He said under AKP Turkey is one of the world leaders in terms of the numbers of jailed journalists; the Ergenikon prisoners have not gotten their day in court; and only Erdogan supporters are getting the exclusive business deals, especially in the media, and the country's energy sector is becoming even less transparent with nuclear and gas deals with Russia.

Turkey under the Third Erdogan administration will be more likely to clash with Israel as it supports Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations, he said.

"Ankara also gets closer to Iran, and possibly to the Muslim Brotherhood which is on the ascendancy in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. Thus, Turkey will continue turning away from its Western vocation towards a more prominent role in the Islamic world and the Middle East," Cohen said.