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.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...