Boston Globe | Stephen A. Cook | July 26, 2007
ON SUNDAY, Turks overwhelmingly voted to return the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) to office with 46.6 percent of the vote. Turkey’s two main secular parties did not even come close to this tally, combining for 34 percent of the vote. The stakes in these elections were high, including Turkey’s future democratic development, how religion will be accommodated in an officially secular state, and the prospects for Turkey’s place in Europe and the Middle East. It is for these reasons that Washington should be relieved that Turkey’s Islamists have prevailed. Hardly the firebrands of Hamas and Hezbollah, the leaders of the Justice and Development Party are modernizers who seek a pluralist and democratic Turkey.