Will President Erdogan’s landslide victory in the Turkish elections last week affect the country’s 17, 500 Jews? Not especially, say Jewish commentators. Article in The Algemeiner:
Tayep Erdogan: landslide
The stunning victory of the conservative Justice and Development
Party (AKP) in Turkey does not pose a threat to Turkish Jewry,
Turkish-Jewish columnist and blogger Karel Valansi told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
Valansi, the political columnist for the Turkish-Jewish weekly, Şalom, said the “public voted for security and against the instability that is perceived with governments formed by coalition.”
After a general election last June produced a hung parliament, this
week’s landslide AKP victory handed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s party the option of retaining
Valansi said many Turks believe the country is better off with
one-party rule, which she assessed would end up being the case. She said
the recent climate of terrorist attacks that proceeded the vote, such
as the twin bombings in Ankara this month, as well as an “aggressive
nationalist campaign,” were probably behind AKP’s strong standing in the
The campaign was so nationally focused that it “excluded the Jews,”
said Valansi. “There was no word on Israel, or Jews as a threat or lobby
that want to harm Turkey,” as there have been from AKP officials in the
past, she said.
Valansi said she thought Turkish-Israeli relations could benefit
from a single-party government as well as the absence of a powerful
opposition. Relations between Israel and Turkey have snagged under AKP
and its charismatic leader, Erdogan, who has served both as prime
minister and now as president.
AKP has warm relations with the terrorist group Hamas, and its
leaders have been harshly critical of Israeli policy vis-a-vis the
Palestinians. In August, Erdogan met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.
Other analysts do not share Valansi’s optimism about Turkish-Israeli
relations. Semi Idhiz, an analyst writing in the Washington-based Middle
East website Al-Monitor, wrote, “It is generally believed that prospects for improved relations with Israel are also close to nil.”