But in light of the election result, what has been called a cyber-coup, a virtual coup, ended up turning into a boomerang for the generals. The response from the polls, the senior officials themselves admitted, was very clear. Erdogan’s AKP got 46.6% of the favors (with 340 deputies in Parliament), the Social Democrats of the CHP (Republican People’s Party, founded by Ataturk) a modest – compared to expectations – 20.8% (with 112 parliamentarians), the Gray Wolves of the Nationalist Action Movement MHP an excellent 14.3% (71 members in Parliament). The independents elected were 27, including 23 Kurds, women doubled their presence in the National Assembly by winning 50 seats. But the general public was particularly struck by the leap forward of the AKP which, contrary to all the polls, pocketed more than 12% more preferences than in 2002.
In fact, it was immediately the same opposition that attracted accusations of ineffectiveness and lack of incisiveness. Not just on the left. In the moderate center-right, the emblem of failure is represented by the failure to merge two old formations of notable popular appeal into the Democratic Party, the Right Way Party and the Motherland Party. The dispute over the composition of the polling stations two months before the vote blew up a project that would have led to Parliament (where the electoral admission threshold is very high, 10%) an unprecedented group and after all traditionally awarded by voters (in the over 80 years of the Republic, the country was ruled by the left for only two years). Only fared better for the MHP extremists,
According to agooddir, the major criticisms, however, have fallen on the center-left, whose Republican People’s Party is destined to remain outside the chambers of royal power this time too. The burning accusation rained down on the Social Democratic leader Deniz Baykal is that of not having best led a party that would bear only the name, expressing in reality the values and the political will in which the military recognize themselves in the National Assembly, so as to set up what one authoritative commentator, Cengiz Candar, called “the public relations department of the army”, with an ancient tradition newspaper, Cumhuriyet (“The republic”), still inclined to endorse the old traits of Kemalism rather than support economic and social instances closer to a Western and European left. The fears of a fundamentalist drift stirred by Baykal have instead turned against his group. “Turkey – wrote another of its most lucid and ruthless observers, the liberal Metin Munir, on Milliyet – is perhaps the only country in the world to have a problem not with the ruling party, but with its opposition”.
The fist of the military
In any case, the most evident anomaly of the intricate Turkish scenario remains the fact of having behind it, as a great little visible but always present guardian, the powerful military class, which controls and decides everything, entrenching itself behind the mission of having to protect values founders of the secular Republic.
A clear demonstration was precisely the position taken at the end of April 2007 on the election of the new President of the Republic. The outgoing head of state, former magistrate Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who during his seven-year term had clashed several times with Erdogan on institutional issues, had now to leave the field free. But the ignorance of the opposition was unable to present a credible candidate for his succession. The head of government for some time secretly held on to that post, but his ambitions have been repeatedly curbed and he has reserved until the end, as president of his party, to decide the name of the conservative candidate. When Erdogan from the stage of the Parliament mentioned the name of “my brother Abdullah Gul”, many felt that the AKP had already succeeded. The Islamic-moderate formation, born only in 2001, already counted, at the time with just 34% of the votes, the presidency of the Council (and the vice-presidency), the seat of speaker of the House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an absolute majority in a single-color government. Now he also aspired to the highest chair on Cankaya Hill.
The generals, who have always considered themselves the guardians of secularism – as the Constitution drawn up by the Kemalists expressly provides – at that point established that the rise of moderate Muslims should be stopped. On the night of April 27, as in a ‘pronouncement’ coming from another era, they put the altolà to Gul on their Internet page: “In the debate on secularism underway for the presidential elections – reads the statement issued by the army just before midnight – we must not forget that the Turkish Armed Forces are a part of the debate and are staunch protectors of secularism. The General Staff is following developments with concern. The Armed Forces will openly express their position and their choices when this becomes necessary. Nobody has doubts about this ».