Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Thursday, 19 July 2007 17:50 UK

Turkish election: Voters' views

Turkey goes to the polls on Sunday to vote in a general election after months of tension between the ruling AK Party, which has strong Islamic ties, and secularists. The powerful military has reminded Turkey that it is ready to defend secularism.

Here, five Turkish readers discuss the importance of Sunday's election and reveal how they will vote.

EBRU TUTU, ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Ebru Tutu

For the sake of the Turkish people, compromise is a must after this election.

The ruling AKP will probably get the most votes, followed either by the CHP [Republican People's Party] or MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] and the independents.

However, the AKP will not be able to build a cabinet alone so a coalition government will have to be formed.

If the AKP can't form a government, then the second scenario will be a CHP and MHP coalition.

However, this could result in Turkey closing her doors to the outside world, because of the nationalist politics of the MHP.

I'll vote for independent candidate Ufuk Uras because I believe our parliament needs to break the vicious political circle which it's stuck in these days.

Turkish politics needs independent ideas to breathe.

After the election, if the parties carry on their rigid politics, particularly when electing the next president, then another crisis is on the way.

That would mark the point of no return.

BEKIR UGUR, ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Bekir Ugur

I will vote for the ruling AK Party.

This election will show how people have reacted to military intervention in our presidential election.

It will also give the people's verdict on the government's performance over the past five years.

I hope the people will react correctly to the possibility of military intervention - which would destroy our economy - and show their support for democracy and the government.

Until the presidential issue is resolved the tension will continue, since the military and bureaucratic elites supporting the CHP and the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, wish to keep the government under pressure.

If the AKP gets a majority of more than 350 seats it will finally show that the Turkish people want democracy and will stop any future anti-democratic movements.

ISMAIL BOZKURTOGLU, ADANA, TURKEY

Ismail Bozkurtoglu

I have never felt so undecided before in any election.

I normally vote for the CHP but they have polarised Turkish society so much, and their leadership have performed so badly that I cannot vote for them.

I feel I may have to reluctantly vote for the nationalist MHP, not because I believe in their proposals, but because there are no alternatives.

I definitely cannot vote for the AKP. They have done some very short-sighted things in government.

They will unfortunately probably win the most seats, but at least if the MHP make gains, we will see a healthier opposition, with three or four parties in parliament.

The AKP may not be able to form its own government, however, so it'll be interesting to see what happens, as it would be nearly impossible to see them form a broad coalition with the MHP and CHP.

This election is most importantly a massive turning point for Turkey. We must keep pushing forward, including towards EU membership, as there is no alternative.

It's a problem all round for me - there are simply no alternatives.

ULUHAN, IZMIR, TURKEY

I'm going to vote CHP on Sunday.

These elections are so important. Secularism has never been in such danger as it is today.

The AKP's ideology is not in tune with democracy, secularism, or equality.

[Turkey's Prime Minister Recep] Tayyip Erdogan says the AKP has a conservative democrat ideology.

Someone who says "we are conservative democrats" doesn't know anything about politics, in my book. Conservatism and democracy are opposite political beliefs.

Turkey is not walking in the footsteps of Kemal Ataturk [founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey] with the AKP in government.

They want to control everything in Turkey. Can their ideology be considered democratic? Certainly not.

The best outcome would be for the AKP to leave power and for the uncertainty over choosing a new president to be resolved by the CHP in government.

MEHMET COLAK, ANKARA, TURKEY

Mehmet Colak

On Sunday the people will finally give their verdict on the tensions over secularism.

For me the most important outcome of the elections will be democracy and stability in the country.

In the last four years Turkey has been relatively stable, compared with the previous governments.

Although the AKP government has not tackled corruption at state level, I don't see any alternative among the other parties.

I think three parties will win more than 10% of the votes - the AKP, MHP and CHP.

This might result in a coalition government, which is a risk for the country's stability.

It would be better to have a one-party government who will be careful not to cause any tensions over Islam and secularism.

Also we have terrorism and a fragile economy which needs to be handled with care.

The AKP is likely going to win the most votes and continue ruling the country, so they may be the only party to vote for.




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