Good News From Turkey

The increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development party (AK) of Turkey was given a sharp rebuke by the Turkish people. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan promised his party would gain a two-thirds majority and be able to write a new constitution, but it only garnered 49.9% of the vote which translates into 325 seats in the legislature, less than the 330 needed to call for a plebiscite. Secular minded Turks fear if the AK makes constitutional changes it will result in greater religious influence within government. The vote made clear to Erdogan the nation was divided and no indication of a desire for a new Constitution. Leading up to the constitution, Erdogan has been threatening journalists and warning of more trials for “traitors.” Hopefully, he will calm down and proceed in a manner that respects secular feelings.

Erdogan reacted to results in a conciliatory manner. “The people gave us a message to build the new constitution through consensus and negotiation. We will discuss the new constitution with opposition parties.

Good news for the people of Turkey and the cause of democracy.