BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 4 November, 2002, 09:45 GMT
Turkey's election victors in spotlight
Turkish women cast their votes
There are concerns about the AK's policy on women

The victory of the Justice and Development (AK) Party in Turkey's elections has caused great concern, with opponents at home simply unable to believe that it has shed its Islamist image.

The diplomatic community is more sanguine about the question of Islamism but worries instead that the party may not have the experience to govern a country so beset with problems.


AK could bring a lot of pressure on women - on issues like the headscarf, working rights, everything

Turkish voter
AK can now expect to enjoy intense domestic and international scrutiny.

It sprang from banned Islamist parties - but its leadership insists that it no longer has any Islamist ideology. Its supporters are drawn from across Turkey's population - many of them express disgust at the established parties.

The current three-party governing coalition has been driven out of office and out of parliament.

The state of the economy has dominated the campaign. Since two huge economic shocks rocked the country in late 2000 and early 2001, Turkey has shed more than a million jobs.

Protest vote

The country has become the IMF's largest debtor, investment has been stifled by high interest rates and people blame the politicians.

AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan
AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife vote
One woman at a school in Demterler district scoffed when asked about her vote - she spoiled her ballot paper "to protest" she says "about all the politicians".

Hamiyet Yilidirim, a young hairdresser, voted for the AK Party "to try it".

"The economic crisis is the big issue," she said. "Work at the hairdresser has been hit by the crisis. I don't know what they can do - but we need to try it."

Grave doubts

A smartly dressed woman in her mid forties whispered her vote. She had cast it for the Republican People's Party, the social democratic group that will become the opposition to AK in the new parliament.

But she said she was not worried by AK's Islamist reputation: "We just pray that the best should come to any party in power."

A woman holds a long ballot list
The ballot list was challenging
But whilst some have been reassured by the promises from the AK Party that they are no longer Islamist, many in Turkey have grave doubts.

Few want a return to the last period of Islamist rule, when the Welfare Party was removed from government by the military in 1997 in what was dubbed a "post modern" coup.

Sebahat Karayigit, a 45-year-old woman who recently retired from Turk Telecom, said she was voting for the True Path Party of former Prime Minster Tansu Ciller.

"She is a woman and she will defend our rights," she explains. "AK could bring a lot of pressure on women - on issues like the headscarf, working rights, everything."

Now that the votes have been counted, it is clear that the AK Party has managed to persuade enough people that it has dumped its Islamist past, and could well win an outright majority.

Turkey's election

Key stories

Background

Profiles

TALKING POINT

BBC WORLD SERVICE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes