Turkish far right on the rise
Tuesday 20 April 1999
With 69 per cent of votes counted from Sunday's polls, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with 18.6 per cent of votes counted, was second only to the Democratic Left Party of the Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit. With 21.7 per cent of the vote, Mr Ecevit was widely expected to emerge on top.
"This election is a crossroads for the Turkish nation and democracy," said the MHP's leader, Devlet Bahceli. In Turkey's last elections, his party failed even to win the 10 per cent of the national vote needed to qualify for parliament.
The far right gains will transform Turkey's political arena. Political Islam, which has dominated the agenda in recent years, was delivered a crushing defeat. The Islamist Virtue Party, seen as Mr Ecevit's only challenger in the run-up to the polls, saw its share of the vote plummet as it limped in in third place. "The period of using religion for political purposes is over,' said Mr Ecevit.
Mr Ecevit is expected to remain in power at the head of a government including the MHP. Ardent nationalism is de rigueur in mainstream Turkish politics, and Mr Ecevit is no exception. With the MHP's backing, his policies are likely to be more chauvinist than ever.
"The MHP will move Turkey towards a more nationalist line in relations with the European Union, the United States and Russia," said Professor Ali Carkoglu of the political faculty at Istanbul's Bogazici University. "That may signal trouble."
The far right's success is ominous for Turkey's restive Kurdish minority. The party is fiercely opposed to any compromise with autonomy-seeking Kurdish factions. There was consolation for Kurds as a Kurdish nationalist party won several mayors' posts in the south- east. But the People's Democracy Party (Hadep) failed to secure the expected gains in its national vote.
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 3 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
- 4 Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
- 5 Barack Obama fist bumps Texas restaurant employee in support of gay rights
Scottish independence: Scots of Corby take matters into their own hands in mock referendum - and deliver overwhelming verdict
Protesters fight to save Arturo, the polar bear sweltering in baking hot zoo
Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Supermoon 2014 in pictures: Moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
£28000 - £34000 per annum + excellent bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: In...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software En...