Turkey: Does election mean business as usual?

13th June 2011

Under Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the country has become one of the world's emerging economic stars. Erdogan's moderately Islamic AK (Law and Justice) Party has just won its third election, with a slightly reduced majority in Parliament.

Does this mean business as usual or does the country face any political and economic challenges to its status as a destination for a significant portion of the world's emerging market investment?

Germany with its large Turkish minority has always been very interested in Turkey's development and here magazine Speigel discusses Erdogan's career and his economic record.

It writes: "He has taken the fight out of Turkey's powerful military brass, demoralized the secular elites and straightened out the cotton kings and concrete tycoons who once amicably divided up the country with the generals. He has built up Turkey, traditionally a country of coups and crises, into a regional power. He is taken seriously as an important player in London and Washington, just as he is in Riyadh and Beijing. And even Israel — with whom he has picked fights, much to the delight of Arabs."

Speigel does not praise all of Erdogan's works. It notes that the country has become less tolerant and that some journalists have been imprisoned.

The AKP emerged from what were banned Islamic groups and the magazine says that freedom of speech has definitely suffered.

However it also notes that the country now boasts several Anatolian tiger cities such as Gaziantep, where industrial production has doubled since 2005, and which in 2008 exported goods worth $3.9 billion (€2.67 billion).

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