Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1824

THE RESULTS of the general election set to take place in Turkey on Sunday are hard to predict, with opinion polls notorious for their unreliability. But the political instability gripping the country is likely to be reflected in the vote. It could be that none of the parties in the current coalition government will get a single seat in parliament. An election rule designed to prevent Kurdish parties getting parliamentary seats requires any party to get 10 percent of votes across Turkey to get any MPs.

The Kurds are a minority who are systematically oppressed by the Turkish state, which has been waging a savage war in the mainly Kurdish south east of the country. Voters in Turkey are angry and alienated from a government which has presided over crisis and International Monetary Fund backed austerity measures. The result has been to cut living standards by up to 40 percent for many people in Turkey.

That could see the government parties all fall below the 10 percent barrier. The main beneficiary is likely to be the White Party, a 'modernised' split from the Islamist Loyalty Party. The most positive sign in the election has been the formation of DEHAP, the Democratic People's Party, an alliance between the largely Kurdish HADEP party and sections of the left.

The alliance means there is now a clear anti-war, anti-IMF party, which also stands against Turkish nationalism and defends Kurdish rights, in the elections. The alliance has been holding enormous rallies all over Turkey, largely blacked out by the press and TV.

Organisers claimed 350,000 people attended the DEHAP rally in Istanbul last weekend, and the rally was certainly bigger than for any of the major parties.

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Sat 2 Nov 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1824
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