Last month’s election in Turkey revealed confusing and contradictory patterns emerging within the population of the nation. Turkey is predominantly Muslim, but it contains a 15% Kurdish minority. In a bewildering outcome to the election, Kurdish sectors of Turkey elected a record number of Kurds to Parliament, but the total vote declined for these candidates. It appears there is a growth in the number of religious sects and groups who support minor candidates for local or historical reasons. A surprising outcome of the election was increased support for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) which currently rules Turkey even though Kurds do not support fundamentalist Muslim practices.
It may well by the chaos created by America’s invasion of Iraq and our failure to work toward resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict has unleashed forces of confusion within the region. In some respects people are looking toward local leaders, in other respects they are supporting fundamentalist forces. One ray of hope is the Erdogan Muslim government of Turkey which continues to bridge the gap between religious fundamentalism and secularism. Hopefully, America can keep its head on straight and support Erdogan because at this point he is our best bet for stability in the Middle East.