Public Radio of Armenia
A hard year is awaiting Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party and its leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expert of Turkish studies Artak Shakaryan said, meaning the local self-government elections expected in March, the presidential elections in August and the subsequent parliamentary elections.
According to him, the local self-government elections in Turkey have always predetermined the outcome of subsequent general elections. He believes that whoever wins in Istanbul, will have the best chances at the presidential and parliamentary elections. For the first time in Turkish history the President will be elected directly by the people.
The expert said the developments started last year. “First there were rallies that shattered Erdogan’s positions, followed by deterioration of Erdogan-Gul relations, the scandalous arrests involving the sons of Ministers and the firing of about 300 policemen,” he reminded.
“All this speaks about the split inside the ruling elite in Turkey,” Shakaryan said. Analyzing the Turkish elections from the perspective of Armenian interests, he said: “Unfortunately, there is no alternative to Erdogan. The Justice and Development Party is the force, which is the least of evils for Armenia and Armenians today. Others are far more radical, pro-Azerbaijani and dangerous for Armenians,” he said.
Artak Shakaryan noted that in the last three general elections the Armenian community cast its vote for the Justice and Development Party. For the first time it was a glimpse of hope for Armenians, later they saw that the Justice and Development Party was opener and more tolerant. It was under this party that people started to speak openly about the Armenian Genocide and the issue of Islamized Armenians was raised. Therefore, the expert believes that the ruling Justice and Development Party still remains the only alternative for the Armenian community of Turkey.