Leading article: A template for democracy in a Muslim country

Share
Related Topics

The victory won by Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) could rightly be described as the Goldilocks variant: not too big, not too small, but just right. Turkey's 50 million-plus voters gave the AKP, and Mr Erdogan as Prime Minister, a third term, but they gave him slightly fewer seats, depriving him of the majority he had sought to make unilateral changes to the constitution. Other trends indicated in the results were also to be welcomed. The secular Republican People's Party gained seats; the far-right nationalist party lost support; and there will be a record number of women in the new parliament. There will also be more Kurdish MPs.

In all, that is a positive outcome, and evidence of the maturity of Turkey's electorate. Voters rewarded the AKP for the past four years of impressive economic growth and some much-needed social programmes, but the reward was not unconditional. Mr Erdogan will not be allowed to rest on his laurels, nor will the AKP be able to race to a position of single-party dominance. As he recognised in his victory speech, the Prime Minister will have to seek a consensus for any constitutional changes he decides to pursue.

This is salutary for any national leader, and it is particularly desirable in Turkey, with its big disparities in economic development, its high level of income inequality, and the widely divergent views that exist about its future course. If Mr Erdogan is guided by the trends to be discerned in the voting, his new government will move a shade towards the secularists, and take a more serious look at giving the Kurdish minority more autonomy.

There is nothing about this result that should impede Turkey's long, and chequered, bid for EU membership – on the contrary. Yet frustration with Brussels has been one factor in Turkey's shift of focus to a regional role, and the Arab Spring only served to reinforce this. The AKP's record in office, as its victory on Sunday, shows again that Europe has nothing to fear, and much to gain, when a Muslim country embraces democracy. At best, we can hope that where Turkey goes today, the region as a whole might go tomorrow.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
 

‘They’ve seen the future – and got it for a song’: the unlikely history of Canary Wharf

Jack Brown
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee