April 10, 2014
Several reactions could be detected after the electoral outcome of Turkey´s council elections. The Turkish columnist Hatice Akyün fears Turkey to fall back into the last century. All democratic achievements would be at stake turning Turkey to an authoritarian State.
The former mayor of Hamburg Ole von Beust (CDU), expressed his compliments for Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan would have led his country to prosperity and economic development. Ole von Beust works for the official agency for the advancement of investments in Turkey (ISPAT).
The Hamburg based Turkish entrepreneur Vural Öger, founder of the Turkish touristic company “Öger Tours”, expressed his concerns. The society would be polarized between the urban sector being culturally westernized and the rural sector being oriented towards an Islamic conservatism. According to Öger, the elections will have no negative effects for the Turkish economy and its trade with Germany. The economy would be an strong independent sector.
The Turkish Professor for “Modern Turkey Studies” at the University of Duisburg-Essen Haci-Halil Usulcan is not surprised by the outcome of the electoral results. Western media would solely focus at urban areas such as Istanbul, excluding the immanent impact of rural areas for the victory of Erdogan. In cities such as Konya, Kayseri and Erzurum, more than 60% of voters would cast their vote for Erdogan. Although the focus shifted towards the political battle between the party of Erdogan and the Islamic Gülen movement, many Gülen supports would rather vote for the Islamic conservative party (AKP) of Erdogan than casting their vote for a “godless” secular opposition party. To many religious voters, Islam remains the core idea of their personal identity. This has been more important than any grievance towards Erdogan. Although corruption is a side effect of
Turkey´s current history, the positive economic emergence was not ignored by the Turkish voters. That said, Professor Usulcan assesses the Turkish voters of Erdogan not as ideological but very pragmatic and rational. Post-material values such as individuality, liberal citizenship and the way of life have not created their path through developing societies. Consumption and prosperity are gaining importance for the bourgeois-conservative middle class in central Anatolia. The Gezi protests and the heterogeneous share of groups would demonstrate another indicator for the lack of political alternatives in Turkey.