Islamists claim victory in Turkey

Islamists claim victory in Turkey

Leader vows to keep secular rule

04 November 2002

Catherine Collins / Chicago Tribune

The elections were watched closely by the United States. Turkey houses U.S. warplanes at its southern Incirlik air base, which was a staging point for attacks on Iraq during the gulf war. Western diplomats contend that Turkey’s position would not change, although the question of how much additional support Turkey might provide remained unclear.

Uncertainty in victory

With Erdogan unable to join parliament, his party’s victory brought with it an air of uncertainty. Most analysts said the law allows President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to select the prime minister. While custom dictates that the prime minister be selected from the majority party, some analysts said Sezer could choose from another party with seats in parliament.

AK Party officials dispute that interpretation, saying the law mandates that the majority party select the prime minister. One AK Party founder, Cuneyd Zapsu, said the party’s executive committee would meet to choose a candidate for prime minister Tuesday.

“It will be a difficult ride for all of us,” said Ozel. “I am worried about who they chose to run the show…. In the best of times, balance would be difficult to achieve, and these are not the best of times.”