Tuesday 5 November 2002

Turkey's voters have delivered the 'wrong' result

by Robert Fisk

After the Taliban's chums enter the Pakistan parliament, the Islamists are back in Turkey. Who said that fundamentalism is dead? No, the victory of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is not a specifically anti-American vote – corruption and economic collapse produced its 350 seats in the 540-seat Turkish parliament. But opposition to corruption and economic collapse lay behind the Pakistani vote, too. Indeed, it is the foundation for almost every Islamist opposition vote in the Middle East, the desire to destroy the cancer which infects almost every pro-American regime in the region.

President George Bush, riding the Iraqi war cry in his mid-term election campaign yesterday, will not have spent more than a few seconds – if that – reflecting on the meaning of Turkey's election results. For this is a country that not only opposes his Iraqi adventure but has made it very clear that, in the event of hostilities, the Turkish army will move into Kurdish northern Iraq to prevent the declaration of a Kurdish state. So much for "safe havens".

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