Today Turkey will be heavily featured in the international news for its historic first Presidential election. For the first time ordinary people will decide on a post that is normally chosen by parliament.
There are three contenders for this position. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Selahattin Demirtas. Erdogan is, of course, the current Prime Minister of the country and will no doubt win this election today as well. Why? Well he is the face that people see every day in newspapers, on television. The Turk said to me that for him Erdogan is the leader of a cult which has smothered democracy. A rock star if you will. He is adored by his followers and his smooth talking can turn even the most hardened head. Erdogan has allowed religion and politics to mix and that’s not on in The Turk’s mind. The other two contenders Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Selahattin Demirtas really do not have the power to pull in the numbers that Erdogan has. Ihsanoglu was previously the leader of the International Islamic Organisation so really isn’t that well known here in Turkey. Selahattin Demirtas is a young Kurdish hopeful but, as Turkey was at war with the minority Kurdish only a few years ago, the fact that he is running at all is a milestone for the country I think.
So what will happen from here? Probably nothing. Erdogan will move into the presidential position, one of his flunkies will move into the position of Prime Minister and life will go on. His control will continue, his opinions will be flaunted (Israel and foreign interests) sometimes to the detriment of the country but for me as a yabanci living in Turkey I just hope that Turkey continues to be a safe home for me and my family. We will see.