Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Next Presidential Elections

Dear Colleagues

In April 2007, we shall have our next Presidential Elections in our parliament. It is general expectation that the existing ruling party will nominate their Chairman as the next President for next 7-years. There are certain sides that the elections are all over, and the next president is already known.

However since there are certain evidences that the existing majority party Chairman has his past record against the historical constitutional secular principles, there will be huge opposition for his elections for the top post.

If the ruling party Chairman or any other leading nominee from his party will become the new President, he will certainly push the country with all measures, legislations, appointments towards a new environment as moderate Islamic republic in the region. So all secular forces are to defend the existing Western Democratic system to prevail.

So let us try to foresee the elections what if we can do or cannot do in future regarding the elections in April 2007. Upon his election, the new president will enforce all measures, appointments, legislations against constitutional secular law. There will be huge legal and civil reaction. There will be mass demonstrations in the Capital City. Maybe one or more millions of ordinary citizens will walk on the streets of the capital city to declare their opposition. Will it work? It worked in Venezuella.

All types of sarcastic and even humiliating/ ridiculating jokes, stories against him will be created, as was usual practice in the past. His own life will be under magnifying glass at all times as well as his family members, and there will be no immunity in that respect. All his past commercial transactions will be evaluated/ criticized/ severely scrutinized. On the next general elections his party may not have majority in the Parliament and if so then he will be courted and maybe released from his post. That will be a very humiliating experience in our parliamentarian history.

On the other hand, a serious financial crises is expected in early 2007 in the local market due to this fragile social athmosphere. That will create a difficult time for the people in Turkey in the short run. We cannot estimate how the management in power will handle these difficult times.

It is our understanding that our Military Upper Management has already had that brainstorming within their ranks and they have reached a certain inside consensus which is not yet made public.

This election process is a very good opportunity for ourselves in order to have more brainstorming and intellectual contribution to think on “The best election process for Presidential post in Turkey. What should be the qualifications of our President? How should he/she be elected?”. We can further organize panels, seminars. The Middle East Technical University's Alumni Association has created a new working group to review the local Presidential election process in detail in their Ankara premises.

This review is written in English so that we invite all international interested readers to review the issue and put their intellectual contributions. It is not incorrect to say that there is almost limited or no application of local penal law if a document is written and released in a foreign language. That is a fact that we always feel the difficulty in "Freedom of Expression" in your own language.

Article 26 of the Constitution of Turkey guarantees the right to "Freedom of Expression and Dissemination of Thought". Moreover, the Republic of Turkey is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights and submits to the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The constitutional freedom of expression may be limited by provisions in other laws, of which Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which outlaws insulting Turkishness.

This article will also be a test of "Blogs" against written local Media sources which are under close control of certain commercial interest groups. Your comments are always welcome. Thank you & best regards


Anonymous said...

Sevgili Haluk, Uzun zamandan beri nasıl olup da Türkçe'den yavaş yavaş, hani deyim yerindeyse "vazgeçip", İngilizce'ye yönelmekte olduğunu anlamakta güçlük çekiyor, ama bir yandan da, biraz olsun, şu hiç tanışmadığım, ama her zaman duyageldiğim "blogger"lık kurumu ile ilişkiye geçmiş olmandan da kuşkulanıyordum. Sonunda göndermiş olduğun mesaj sayesinde düğüm çözüldü. Yani hem "blogger"lık kurumu ile tanışmış hem de senin neden ısrarla bazı yazılarını İngilizce yazdığını da anlamış oldum. Düğüm çözüldükten sonra sıra geliyor ısrarlı çabaların için seni yürekten kutlamaya: Sevgili Haluk, bu "blogger"lık olayını keyifli bir uğraş haline getirdiğin ve yaşama hep ciddi uğraşlar penceresinden - ama güler yüzle ve keyifle - baktığın için kutluyorum seni. Tabii beni bilgilendirdiğin için de ayrıca çok teşekkürler.Selamlar ve sevgiler- Neset

Anonymous said...

Just like parties the president should also be elected by public vote at the same time with general elections. President should also be elected for 4 years to work with the party elected for the same period. I guess again first Brits came up with constitution idea and they have no written constition. So the candidates should meet all requirements written and not written in the our constitution. Best Regards, John Gurcam

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year. The President won't be Tayyip (the military/ mass media are working to ensure that this doesn't happen) or Hikmet Çetin (alas). It's more likely to be a fairly obscure AKP member of Parliament (but not a heavy weight contender)whose wife is not veiled. And more importantly someone who will not inflame secular opinion once elected. Mr Vecdi Gönül, the low profile Defence Minister, satisfies both counts. On the other hand, ıf Tayyip were to think a little more creatively, he might choose one of AKP's female MPs. There are a few younger, non-veiled ones who might be acceptable to Turkish society as a whole.
As for the general election, I suspect that Tayyip will have a reduced share of the vote (around 22-24%)and he will attempt to form a coalition government with the DYP. The centre left CHP will remain in opposition most likely. Although if the ultra nationalist MHP did well and picked up 15% plus of the vote, then a CHP-MHP coalition govt could be conceivable. But Turkish politics is highly volatile. And every one of my predictions might turn out to be utterly wrong!!

Anonymous said...

Election 2007: Predictions

The election of a new president in May, and of a government in
November, will focus minds. If the parliament, dominated by the
Justice and Development Party (AKP) of the prime minister, Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan, elects an Islamist as president, secularists will be
appalled. Either way, the AKP will win the general election.
Turkey prediction from "The World in 2007", published by The
Many of the visitors to my "Blog" in the last few months have come
having searched "Turkey election 2007", or something similar, in
Google. There is little need to question why: the two upcoming
elections are events that will eclipse all others in the Turkey of
2007. We can only hope the two votes will indeed focus minds.

Ahmet Necdet Sezer has 99 remaining days in office, and it is still
no clearer who his replacement might be. It is unlikely a candidate
will emerge until at least February; we may even have to wait until
March. This blog has already endorsed Hikmet Çetin as Turkey's next
president, but I'm curious to know what the remainder of the blogging
community has to say on the matter.

What do you think? Do you agree with a recent Hürriyet interview in
which Süleyman Demirel said he expected Mr Erdoğan to become the next
president? Do you think I'm right to push for a Hikmet Çetin
presidency? Or perhaps, even though it is highly unlikely, would you
support an overhaul of Turkey's presidential system that would allow
presidents two terms of five years each, thus giving Mr Sezer another
three years in power? Such a motion was tabled at the end of Mr
Demirel's presidency seven years ago; it failed, and the result was a
crossparty compromise in Mr Sezer. Can there be a compromise this

The second election of the year is due in 301 days. The Economist is
almost dismissive of what will happen in that election ("the AKP will
win") but they are right. In a political scene where there is no
strong challenger to the governing party, and not enough of a reason
to vote them out, why shouldn't they win?

James Vincent
http://jamesinturke y.blogspot. com/2007/ 01/election- 2007-
predictions. html

Anonymous said...

Bu J. Vincent kimdir bilmiyorum ama onemli degil. Zaten hayatta bi
suru bilmedigimiz sey var. Bunu da bilmesek olur herhalde. Asil
onemli gibi duran listede yabanci lisanda mesaj cikiyor, bakiyorum
anlamiyorum. Bizim kediyi cagirdim. 'Bak oglum bu ne diyor?' dedim, bi ekrana, bi bana bana bos gozlerle bakti, gerindi, gitti. Hakli cocuk, o da anlamadi. Kedice olsa anlar miydi? Zannetmem.
Bilgisayarda yaziyor ama okumasi iyi degil. Daha ziyade konusma
agirlikli iletisim kuruyor. Simdi gelelim, secimde ne olacak mevzusuna. Ne farkeder? Yani bu
ulke cuntaci askerler, satilik usaklar, beceriksiz sarsaklar,
yagmaci uckagitcilar, fasist kopekler tarafindan da yonetildi.
Seriatcilar da gelse bizim icin ne farkeder. Sonucta devamli kazigi
yiyen biz degilmiyiz? Ha Veli Ali, ha Ali Veli, hepsi bir. Soyle, ya
da boyle bu yagma duzeni icinde yer almiyorsaniz, sizin icin kimin
geldigi fark etmez cunku kazigi yiyen sizsiniz. Yalniz kazigi
atanlar degisiyor. Dolayisiyla olay onlar icin fark ediyor, cunku
yagma baskasi tarafindan devir aliniyor. Ahmet Necdet Sezer herhalde bu ulke icin calisan insanlar icinde onemli bir ornekti. En uyanikmis gibi duranlar tarafindan bile
hazmedilemedi, beceriksiksiz ve sarsak yonetimleri sonucunda ulke
ekonomisi kriz batagina saplandi. Sonra da disardan ajan getirtip
daha da boka batirdilar. Bu heriflere ne kadar lanet okusam az, ama ne farkeder? Ekonomik olarak disari bagimli ve borc icinde olduktan sonra ve de
ipler borc verenlerin elinde oldukca size istediklerini yaptirirlar. Bu durumda koltukta kimin oturdugu ne fark edecek. Sonucta zaten dis taleplere uygun vaziyyet alinacaktir. Bu sartlarda koltuga kimin oturacagini tartismak yerine, ulkenin bu ekonomik bagimliliktan nasil kurtulacagi, kendi ayaklari uzerinde durabilen, bagimsiz ulke
nasil olunacagi, bunu gerceklestirmek icin ne yapilmasi gerektigi tartisilmalidir. Kimin boyle bir programi var? Kim boyle bir cikis yolu gosterebiliyor? Var mi boyle bir ekip? Yoksa o bunu dedi, bu bunu dedi, ben bunu nasil kistirdim, kisir agiz dalaslariyla milletin gozune perde mi cekiliyor? Biz bunlari daha once de gorduk. Bu herifler kasaba politikacisi teranesiyle kayikci kavgasini surdururken ulke devamli olarak daha fazla borc faizi oduyor. Uretilen degerler alinan ve yagmalanan kredilerin faizlerinin odenmesine harcaniyor. Ulke gittikce yoksullasiyor ve daha da bagimli hale geliyor. Tartisilmasi, gundeme getirilmesi ve gundemde tutulmasi gereken konu bu sorunlarin nasil cozulecegi konularidir. Tabii kim gelirse gelsin diye teslimiyetci ve kaderci bir konumda
degiliz. Demek istedigimiz bu yagma ve bagimli duzen surdukce
makamda en iyi insanlar otursa bile birsey yapamiyacaklari hususunu vurgulamaktir. Bu vurgun ve yagma duzenini degistirmek uzere
cozumler gelistirilmelidir, makamlarda kimlerin oturacagi mevzusu kendiliginden cozulur. Arz ederim. Hormetlerimle,

Anonymous said...

Political scenarios for 2007
Monday, January 8, 2007

Even the most optimistic scenario hints that this year will be tough

TDN Parliament Bureau

Turkey ended 2006 in discussion over the presidential elections and with calls for early general elections. Now the political scene is bracing for 2007, which will be tough since it will see the presidential elections scheduled for May and the general elections in November. The presidential elections will also draw the political road map of this year and will shape the future of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). The presidential elections will be a deciding factor in whether the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) remains an influential political actor in the general elections.

The question “Who will be the next president?” will preoccupy the minds of political actors in the first five months of 2007. All plans, right down to the tiniest detail, will be made according to possible answers to the question. Here are some of those answers:

Çankaya with Erdoğan:

The primary scenario of AKP members holds Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan moving to the Presidential Palace in Çankaya. Political rumor suggests that Erdoğan would have no trouble getting elected to the presidency, in which case Abdullah Gül would become leader of the AKP and also prime minister; which in turn would bring a Cabinet reshuffle and changes to the AKP administration. According to this scenario, Gül could call early polls with his new team or wait until November and have elections on time so he would have the opportunity to express himself to the electorate; something that would become clear in April. In such a scenario, the AKP would emphasize “harmony” of administrative bodies with the slogan “President Erdoğan, Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç and Prime Minister Abdullah Gül” and that some of the promises the government was not able to keep in its first term might be fulfilled in the AKP's second term in government.

Çankaya without Erdoğan:

According to this scenario, Erdoğan gives in to public pressure and nominates a candidate other than himself for the presidency. In a statement that will probably be made in mid-April, he would explain to the electorate that he has chosen to remain leader of the AKP for yet another term and announce the nominee the AKP has in mind. Some of the possible candidates include Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül or even the AKP's Bursa deputy Ertuğrul Yalçınbayır, a dissident inside the AKP. The opposition wouldn't oppose Yalçınbayır's candidacy, since with his “democrat” personality and his being of the “legal profession” he is appreciated by all the opposition, particularly the CHP.

In addition, extreme possibilities are not out of question. For example some suggest that former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök could be the AKP's nominee for Çankaya. However, a quick note should be added that the AKP might not want to be the party to facilitate a “return to presidents with a military background,” so it is more likely that the Özkök nomination will be avoided. Another unlikely scenario suggests that Erdoğan might nominate a person from outside Parliament. If enough pressure is exerted by public opinion, Erdoğan might say “yes” to a person upon whom everybody agrees.

The opposition's version:

The opposition wing has its own scenarios, described as scenarios for “ordinary” and “extraordinary” circumstances.

An “ordinary” case scenario would involve the CHP continuing to push until mid-February to hold early elections. Campaigns would be initiated to explain to the public the reasons why Erdoğan should not become the next president. CHP leader Deniz Baykal keeps the harm Erdoğan's presidency would inflict on Turkey fresh all the time. In the rest of the scenario, Erdoğan runs for president, the CHP and other opposition parties don't take part in the voting and Erdoğan gets elected. The CHP objects to the result, using retired chief prosecutor Sabih Kanadoğlu's argument that any vote with less than 367 parliamentarians in the General Assembly would be in violation of the Constitution and applies to the Constitutional Court. The court annuls the decision, and the presidential elections are held after the general elections.

In another scenario, although unlikely, the CHP deputies resign from Parliament, causing the rest of the opposition to follow suit, leaving the AKP alone in Parliament. The AKP calls early elections, and the presidential elections are held after the general elections.

In another scenario, the CHP cooperates with civil society and organizes mass demonstrations in which hundreds of thousands in Ankara demonstrate for secularism, hoping it would discourage Erdoğan.

One possible scenario if the CHP can't block Erdoğan's presidency holds that the CHP would react to every act of the new president in Çankaya and use it as an instrument of secularist propaganda, which might in turn bring it to power. As the government party, it amends the power of the president to the minimum possible and also changes the president's term in office to five years. This would keep Erdoğan outside Parliament in the next elections.

According to a radical scenario, Parliament fails to elect the president in three rounds by convincing 78 AKP deputies not to vote, which would cause the AKP-dominated Parliament to fall short of a majority. If this happens, Parliament would have to hold early elections.

The Sezer scenario:

Another scenario echoing in Parliament's halls involves President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. According to this, Erdoğan does get elected as president, but President Sezer claims that the AKP, with its 354 seats, falls short of 367, the number of votes needed to elect the president in the first round and therefore in violation of the Constitution. He uses his authority to call for parliamentary elections under Article 104 of the Constitution.

A day doesn't pass without a radical new scenario, some farfetched and some realistic, emerging in the corridors. Politicians make note of each and every one of them and make their plans accordingly.

If we analyze the myriad scenarios, the most likely one to be realized is Erdoğan being elected to the presidency, despite the tension that would emerge, and the general elections are held either in summer or early fall.

Anonymous said...

Presidential Election: The Vox Pop

It's funny how these things turn out. Last week, I asked the blogging community at large what they thought about the upcoming Turkish presidential election. Having got a response from a mighty two people - not to discredit IstanbulTory and yuvakuran, thank you both so very much for writing your thoughts - I went and did what any other self-respecting journalist would do: pinch what people have said elsewhere. Here's what I found interesting:

"I don't know who this J. Vincent is," reads one of my favourite (anonymous) comments, "but it's not important. There are many things in life that we don't know anyway - it will do if this isn't known either." Not to worry, I'll be sure to make my introductions over there shortly. The comment goes on: "Does it matter what happens in the election? This country has been ruled by juntaist soldiers, contracted servants, plundering conmen and fascist dogs. What difference will it make for us if the sharia comes in - aren't we still going to be the ones who lose out?"

"The President won't be Tayyip," says IstanbulTory, posting on this blog. "The military/mass media are working to ensure that this doesn't happen." Nor, says he, will it be a consensus candidate such as Hikmet Çetin. "It's more likely to be a fairly obscure AKP member of Parliament whose wife is not veiled. And more importantly someone who will not inflame secular opinion once elected." Defence minister Vecdi Gönül is fielded as a potential compromise - Abdüllatif Şener is another possibility, perhaps?

Yuvakuran focused more on the election aftermath: "(An AKP president) will certainly push the country with all measures, legislations, appointments towards a new environment as moderate Islamic republic in the region. So all secular forces are to defend the existing Western Democratic system to prevail."

It's certainly a bleak outlook. But in all the despair, it seems, there's a victory for academia: "The Middle East Technical University's Alumni Association has created a new working group to review the local Presidential election process in detail." Hooray! "We invite all international interested parties to review the issue and put their intellectual contributions. Also there is practically no application of local penal law if a document is written and released in a foreign language." You'll be hearing from me soon, Yuvakıran.

"Just like parties, the president should also be elected by public vote at the same time with general elections," writes John Gurcam on Yuvakuran's blog. "The president should also be elected for 4 years to work with the party elected for the same period."

The Turkish Daily News also got its finger out last week for a bit of comment: "The presidential elections will be a deciding factor in whether the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) remains an influential political actor in the general elections." Göksel Bozkurt's piece goes on to outline a number of possible scenarios for the government and opposition. It's well worth a read, although I would question the claim that President Sezer can unilterally scrap a presidential vote and call an early general election.

The wonderful thing about a vox pop is that there's no need for a balanced argument. The above is by no means a cross-section of the presidential debate, although it does raise some interesting points about the course of the next few months. Your comments, as ever, are welcome below. Mine will continue in these pages in the days to come.

yuvakuran said...

Sunday, January 7, 2007

ANKARA - TDN Parliament Bureau

Çankaya elections may end in court:

The second half of 2006 was dominated by debates on the presidential elections. It appears the first half of the new year won't be any different. The second half will be mainly about the coming general elections. In other words, the year will be dominated by elections one way or the other. Both the government and the opposition have raised their guard accordingly. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will remain silent until April and just listen to the debates.

The leading opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) will intensify its campaign to prevent Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from being elected president. It believes effective opposition will make Erdoğan think twice before running for the presidency. If Erdoğan still decides to run, the CHP intends to execute its plan B, which is based on the thesis of former Supreme Court of Appeals prosecutor Sabih Kanadoğlu's claim that there needs to be at least 367 deputies present at the assembly for the first round of presidential elections to take place. It there are fewer deputies present and the first round takes place, the CHP will argue there was a regulatory violation and launch an appeal at the Constitutional Court.

The validity of Kanadoğlu's argument depends on how Parliament reacts to it. Parliament will just ignore Kanadoğlu's claim. Parliament Laws and Decisions bureau chief İbrahim Araç has prepared a report on the presidential elections in response to Kanadoğlu's claims. The report argues that if there are fewer than 367 deputies present in the first round of elections, the second round can take place, dismissing Kanadoğlu's claims as not being in line with the Constitution. This means the parliament speaker will seek a minimum of 184 deputies at the assembly before proceeding with the first round of elections, not 367. If Erdoğan becomes a candidate, we can say the CHP will launch a serious legal offensive against him.

Parliament's General Secretariat has already announced the timetable for the presidential elections.

The presidential candidates will be able to apply starting from April 16, and deputies who want to be a candidate will just submit their applications. Individuals from outside Parliament will need the endorsement of 110 deputies to apply.

On April 24 Parliament's Consultation Council will meet to agree on the dates of the votes. The deadline for applying for the presidency is midnight on April 26.

The first round of the presidential elections will take place on April 27 or 28. In order for a candidate to win the elections in this round, he or she needs to receive the support of at least two-thirds of the deputies, or 367 votes.

Depending on the date of the first round, the second round will take place either on May 1 or May 2. The rules are the same for the first two rounds.

If there is no result in the first two rounds, a third round will take place on May 5 or 6. The support of more than half of the deputies, 276 votes, is enough for a candidate to become president.

On May 9 or 10, a fourth and final round will take place. The two candidates who received the most votes in the third round will be allowed to run in this round, and 276 votes will be enough for a candidate to become the president. If no candidate manages to win 276 votes in the final round, Parliament will immediately call for general elections.

If a president is elected, a swearing-in ceremony will take place in Parliament, after which the new president will take over from current President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

The parliamentary arithmetic shows that if there is no consensus on the candidate, the presidential elections will probably end up in court.

Vetoed names wait for new president:

The “veto crisis” between the government and Sezer continues. The president is doing his utmost to veto the laws and appointments made by the government, causing serious problems between the two.

Most recently, Sezer returned a directive issued by the government for three candidates to head the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT). Due to Sezer's vetoes, 350 high-level state appointments haven't been made. Currently, all are working in an acting capacity. The posts of the police chief, National Security Council (MGK) general secretary, Capital Markets Board (SPK) chairman and Central Bank deputy governor are awaiting appointment. However, the government is concerned about the possibility of Sezer vetoing their candidates and is taking it a little slow to begin the appointment processes.

Sezer vetoed 12 laws and 81 directives last year and took the Social Security reform to the Constitutional Court. Among the laws vetoed by the president were the law on founding 15 new universities, a law that allowed former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to serve his jail sentence at home, the Foundations Law, the Private Education Institutions Law and Public Inspection Law.

According to rumors, the government has decided to wait until the new president is elected before sending any appointment directives to Sezer. During this period, state affairs will be carried out through appointments in an acting capacity. The government will be pursuing a similar procedure for bills having a priority.

Apparently, the Çankaya elections will be a milestone for the government to overcome the “veto” problem, and no matter which door you open in Ankara, you run into the Çankaya elections.

Anonymous said...

Turkish foreign policy after the elections
Philip Robins

With Turkey having entered election year, it is only a matter of time before speculation turns to the likely consequences for foreign policy of the various possible outcomes. With the political environment in Turkey capable of sudden change, the current febrile atmospherics--featuring a surge in nationalism and heightened EU skepticism--are not necessarily a good gauge as to how foreign relations will pan out a year from now.

With foreign policy the routine preserve of the government, supported by the ministry of foreign affairs, it is the outcome of parliamentary elections, which have to be held by November 2007, that is likely to be the most crucial. Given the role that both the prime minister and the foreign minister have played under the current administration and periodically through the 1990s, the impact of both personalities may well be significant again.

However, the government and the MFA are not the only foreign policy actors in Turkey. The Kemalist state, and the military in particular, has traditionally played the role of gatekeeper of the strategic orientation of the state. That has corresponded to a European vocation, and involved safeguarding both the territorial integrity of the state and the secular orientation of the country. The presidency, though mainly titular in function, has agenda setting and formal powers that are worth taking seriously too. In short, the system has institutional checks and balances.

There are three main scenarios for the parliamentary elections, which will provide the context for policy development in the future. These are:

1. AKP re-election with a parliamentary majority, and hence a single party administration. This is the most likely outcome of the election. However, with presidential elections due in May and both incumbent premier and foreign minister, Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Gul respectively, possible candidates, continuity of office-holders is not assured, even under this scenario. The key question for a second term AKP government will be: will the AKP be as accommodating to the foreign policy agenda of the Kemalist state as it has been during the 2002-07 parliamentary term, or will it seek serious Islamist-oriented policy revisions?

2. AKP emerges as the largest single party in parliament, but, in the absence of a simple majority, is obliged to share office with one or two other coalition partners, possibly the nationalist MHP or the conservative DYP. This opens up the possibility of an AKP premier, but a non-AKP foreign minister. An MHP figure in the post might be a concern for the country's liberals. The key question is: how coherent will policy be with such internal ideological divisions?

3. A grand, anti-AKP coalition is formed by the other parties in the legislature, probably comprising the MHP, the DYP and the Kemalist, nationalist CHP, the current opposition in parliament. The key question here is: will foreign policy matter if the driving political rationale is domestic, namely to block the AKP?

Beyond the polls, the foreign policy agenda in Turkey is likely to choose itself, almost regardless of which scenario emerges. Key policy issues will remain the EU, Cyprus, Iraq and relations with the US. West and Middle East issues could emerge as follows:

The EU: The period between 2008 and 2010 offers a new window of opportunity for political reform in Turkey. This will contrast with the slow progress of 2004-2006. With nationalism likely to dissipate somewhat after the elections, that opportunity will be taken under scenarios 1 and 2 above. The current accession negotiations framework will maintain momentum in the relationship, and keep the MFA engaged. Worries will persist about long-term membership prospects, but all accept that this is unfeasible before 2014 anyway.

Iraq: Turkey will have to manage the Iraq situation as long as there is violent conflict there. The existential nature of the Kurdish issue requires it. Moreover, relations between Ankara (embracing government, MFA and military) and Washington can be relied upon to be edgy and uncertain as long as associated issues like Kirkuk and the PKK remain pressing. As during Operation Provide Comfort II in northern Iraq, there are many policy contradictions for Turkey in Iraq. The best that can be hoped for is muddling through at the margins until a new, more stable situation emerges, regardless of the electoral scenario.

Israel/Palestine: Over the last five years a division of labor has emerged here: the AKP government has been the conscience of the country in criticizing excessive Israeli coercion; the Kemalist institutions (military, military industries and intelligence) have continued business as usual, though with a lowered profile. With public opinion firmly behind the Palestinians, this division of labor is likely to continue under all scenarios.

Iran: Ankara's support for the EU3 and the pursuit of a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclearization challenge is likely to continue. However, the closer the onset of an Iranian bomb (and weaponization is possible during the five year span of the new parliament), the more urgent will become the deterrent debate for Turkey. While scenario 3 will see greater state-government coordination on the matter, uncertainty persists about the Islamist origins of the AKP, and whether leading personalities like Abdullah Gul and Bulent Arinc would perceive Iranian nuclearization in positive terms, as the acquisition of an "Islamic bomb".- Published 1/3/2007 ©

Dr. Philip Robins is university lecturer in the Politics of the Middle East at the University of Oxford. He is also a fellow of St Antony's College. He is the author of "Between the EU and the Middle East: Turkish Foreign Policy under the AKP Government, 2002-2007 (ISPI, Milan)".