Election Slate: Only Muslim Men Need Apply

This post has been updated: Here’s more on AKP’s candidate list.

The parties have published their slates for the the June national elections. In AKP, Erdogan has consolidated his cadre, pushing out the remaining National View (Islamist) voices in favor of younger, educated men who have demonstrated their loyalty. Two of them are former heads of the party’s youth branches. One-fifth of the AKP’s 550 candidates are legal experts, in line with the government’s upcoming push to rewrite the constitution according to what the news article (here) called a more “libertarian” approach. Libertarian has a very specific connotation in the US, referring to a rather radical belief in individual liberty, small government, and minimal regulation that puts the citizen almost off the grid. Kind of back to a largely fictional era of self-reliance, the Wild West where government never interfered (even in regulating pornography) or assisted people with things like subsidized mortgages and Medicare. A totally hands-off government. Somehow I find that hard to imagine in Turkey. What was the Turkish word they translated as “libertarian”?

It would be nice if the hard-working heads of the women’s branches were also rewarded with a seat at the table, but there are no women’s names on the list of central players (click here for the article). No women were nominated for places where they had a chance to actually win. CHP nominated 20 percent women, AKP 14 percent, MHP  12 percent, with 12 women as independent candidates. The women’s names are placed toward the end of the lists where they have little chance of being elected. The best-case outcome if the women were all elected would be 20% women in parliament. (click here)

And there are almost no minorities. Two Syriacs and two Jews will run for the legislature; no party chose to nominate an Armenian candidate, proving earlier predictions wrong. Only one of these candidates, according to the media, stands a chance of being elected. (click here) Non-Muslims are unhappy about this, needless to say. If Erdogan wishes to get rid of ethnic nationalist “red lines” in Turkey as he broadcast in a pre-election speech, he should start at home in his own party. The future for women wasn’t mentioned at all.

10 Responses to “Election Slate: Only Muslim Men Need Apply”

  1. What was the Turkish word they translated as “libertarian”?
    The translator is probably trying to avoid ‘liberal’ which means (or used to mean) a different thing here than in the US. I don’t know what the original is or if there is an original. Civil libertarian might have been more appropriate perhaps but even that is merely paid lip service to (eg the headscarf issue is talked about in terms of personal liberties, various sexual ‘sin’s are not).
    The best-case outcome if the women were all elected would be 20% women in parliament.
    No, that’s the likely outcome with some optimistic assumptions. They cannot all be elected since they are competing with each other.
    Anyway, if you read this far I might as well give you more useful info:
    — Lokman Ayva, the blind AKP MP with some backbone, isn’t re-nominated. So the only MP we had with a serious disability is gone. He called for a cabinet minister to be kicked out of the party due to his disregard for issues concerning people with disabilities. That may have something to do with his absence on the ticket. Dunno for sure though.
    — [Minister] Aliye Kavaf is gone too. I’m sure many organizations for women and gay people are heartbroken over this.
    — Some BDP-supported independent candidates look interesting. They have Ertugrul Kurkcu (you may know him as the guy who runs Bianet, we know him as the sole survivor of Kizildere) and Sirri Sureyya Onder (fun-listen-to far leftist, very hard to dislike, he’s like a teddy bear, all IMHO).
    — CHP has nominated some Ergenekon suspects who’re presently in jail.

  2. I wonder if there’s any variation in party list rank of the female candidates across parties. AKP may have 14 percent women as candidates, others 12, but these are only comparable if they have the same average rank on the party lists.

    For example, if BDP had been running as party and not independents, it would have been really interesting to see the difference in female candidates’ list rankings.

    Basically I’d like to see a comparison of rank-weighted average shares of female candidates for the different parties. This might give a better impression of real female candidate participation beyond window-dressing.

  3. Erik if I understand you correctly that info is mostly there already. Using the link Jenny gave and some vague estimes:
    AKP: 78 women with 55 likely to be elected (300-370 total expected)
    CHP: 109 women 38 likely to be elected (90-120 total expected)
    MHP: 68 women with 8 likely to be elected (55-75 total expected if they pass the threshold)
    BDP-backed independent: 12 women with perhaps 6-10 likely to be elected (I made this up by eyeballing assuming they get 20-30 in)
    This is how people arrive at the 100-110 figure for female MPs. So as far as actual groups in the parliament go, the ranking for female representation would likely be BDP,CHP,AKP,MHP.

  4. BTW, if 100+ women do indeed get into the parliament it’ll be more than double what it was for this term (around 50 I believe) and the ratio will be roughly in the same ballpark as the US house and the UK house of commons. That said, I don’t think any of these statistics are meaningful as long as our MPs are effectively appointed by party leaders (or the cabals around them). Many just raise their hands on command and those few who don’t are not re-nominated. The party leaders and perhaps some independents are truly elected for who they are and what they say, the rest are not.

  5. Thanks Bulent,
    I saw those expected numbers but I have no idea how Aydin arrives at them. My guess is that her estimates also include the higher probability of AKP MPs elected for both men and women, not necessarily AKP female MPs higher within-party rankings…

    This is fine if we were just interested in aggregate changes, such as how many women in parliament compared to last election. But this would confound real election performances for women with those of parties (unless next election will have exactly the same party votes as last election). The reason for why there may be more or less women in parliament this coming election may be due to shifts in voters’ party preferences, not necessarily their preferences for women in parliament. For the latter we would actually want to see the party-specific, rank-adjusted female candidate shares. (Sorry for long walk to make this point)

    But I still buy your ranking of Aydin-rank-adjusted female candidates. BDP would come out on top, which is not mentioned in the article.

    In fact, any idea why the Hurriyet article refers to the female candidate shares for all the parties except BDP writing just “12 women” for them? It’s almost as if they didn’t want to write that the BDP will have the largest share of female candidates… 😉

  6. By ‘libertarian,’ they must mean ozgurlukcu, a commonly twisted notion. Here, for example, you can see a projected application of it:
    “Yakın bir gelecekte alkol ve diğer madde üreticiliği, insanlığa karşı suçlar kategorisine girecek, bağımlılıklar özgürlüğe yelken açacaktır. Özellikle gençlerimizin özgürlüklerinin farkına varmalarında konunun sağlık ve hukuk yönü ve dolayısıyla bilimsel çalışmalar öncelik kazanmaktadır.” (from Radikal; don’t ask for a link)

  7. All hail Ahmet Abi, bottle-throwing warrior against thugs, and independent candidate from Eskisehir backed by Inci Sozluk: http://video.ntvmsnbc.com/#sosya-medyanin-vekil-adayi.html

  8. […] “Election Slate: Only Muslim Men Need Apply” Kamil Pasha (12 April 2011). http://kamilpasha.com/?p=4485. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "0"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  9. Erik, OK I see now. Let’s consider this: the parties also know, to a reasonable approximation, how many from their list will get elected in a given district and adjust the rank in those lists accordingly. This is the case unless they run primaries which only CHP has done this year and only in a few districts. (BDP’s independents don’t have rankings and they seem to be selected by informal polls+magic.) The press people claim that they have gone though the lists and figured out who has a good chance of getting in (ie they reproduced the parties’ thinking/intent). So the estimates, when viewed like that, do actually represent various parties’ deliberate choices to get women in.
    Turkish mainstream press vs. the BDP issue is interesting and you may have noticed another manifestation of the odd bias. Yes, as a rule and as part of their ideology they tend to be more gender-egalitarian in these matters than the others. They also have this co-chair scheme where a man and a woman are both formal heads. How much of this attitude is shared by their voters is unclear, however.
    I don’t even understand how they manage to get their voters to evenly distribute their votes in districts where they run multiple independent candidates. In ’07, There was a rumor about (measured) pieces of string getting distributed to ensure their voters stamp ‘yes’ at the right place on the ballot. Here [in Turkish]: http://www.habervitrini.com/haber.asp?id=289468 (We may see some counter-measures for this scheme this year.)

  10. BM,

    (We may see some counter-measures for this scheme this year.)

    Shame that we don’t yet have an electronic voting system [*] as it would be a great opportunity for individualized ballot papers.
    [*: Ours is much better, actually: Results from ballot boxes are entered into a central database immediately after counting and then ballot papers are destroyed. Much better (i.e. cheaper and more efficient) than cheating on the software of the electronic voting boxes.]

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