Elections show way beyond Islamic versus secular politics in Turkey?

Although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party of nationalism and re-Islamicization remain in place in Turkey after the recent municipal elections, the race revealed the emergence of leaders who are more pragmatic in their approach to both religion and secularism, writes Mustafa Akyol in The Navigator (April 3), the blog of the Center for Global Policy. The elections were seen as a major setback for Erdogan and a major victory for the opposition, which in the past had been making little electoral headway as the country moved toward authoritarian rule. But these new challenges to Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) do not fall along the “Islam-versus-secularism” lines by which the president frequently characterizes his opposition. A new opposition party being planned by former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu would represent a moderate version of the AKP and its Islamic orientation. The winners of the Istanbul and Ankara elections were not the typical hardcore secular Kemalists who strongly oppose women wearing headscarves and any public expression of religion. Ekrem Imamoglu, who was elected mayor of Istanbul, is known for reciting the Koran. “Such actions have capitalized on the ‘religion card’ that Erdogan has exploited for too long,” Akyol writes.

(The Navigator, https://www.cgpolicy.org/articles/not-the-end-of-history-for-turkey/)