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2015年11月 5日 (木)

トルコ総選挙 対「イスラム国」で結束を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Stability in Turkey necessary for united front against ISIL
トルコ総選挙 対「イスラム国」で結束を急げ

Turkey plays an important role in key international issues such as the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) extremist group as well as the refugee crisis. It is essential that the nation’s political situation should stabilize.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, a moderate Islamic party known as AKP, won Sunday’s snap election, securing a single-party majority in the parliament. In June, the AKP fell short of securing a majority in the general election, and the party also failed to form a coalition. Following the deadlock, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared another election.

The political confusion has caused foreign capital to flee the country, which resulted in the depreciation of the nation’s currency. In early October, about 100 people were killed in Ankara by suicide bombings believed to be conducted by ISIL. We believe that the outcome of the recent election shows the majority of the people’s desire for a stable government, reflecting their concern about the nation’s future.

As battles between the government troops and Kurdish militants continue, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party has lost a significant number of its seats in the election. Kurds make up about 15 percent of the nation’s population, and voices demanding more autonomy are prevalent among them.

The conflict between citizens of Turkish and Kurdish ethnicity has spilled over to Japan, resulting in a scuffle in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo in late October.

We hope friction between different ethnic groups will not hamper efforts to tackle issues such as the prolonged civil war in neighboring Syria, as well as terrorist threats. It is apparent that Erdogan must work for national reconciliation.

Dark side of Erdogan

Erdogan led the nation to rapid economic growth after taking office as prime minister in 2003. He assumed his current role last year by winning the nation’s first direct presidential election. The president is now seeking constitutional amendments that would give more power to the president.

There is persistent criticism against his high-handed political attitude, such as police raiding offices of an opposition media group during the election campaign period and an interruption of a TV broadcast. It is obvious that the election victory does not mean that the public has approved such interference with the media.

The Erdogan administration has prioritized its efforts on toppling the regime of Syria’s Bashar Assad. In contrast, efforts against ISIL have been lagging behind, as airstrikes against ISIL and joint military operations with the United States have just begun this summer.

It is likely that Ankara will continue its military operations against Kurdish militants, a move that will only benefit ISIL. We believe it is worth considering the resumption of a ceasefire with the militants, which was suspended in July.

Many foreign fighters of ISIL have entered Syria via Turkey. In contrast, about 2 million Syrian refugees have crossed the border to Turkey, with some of them heading for Europe. It is urgent for Turkey to thoroughly manage its border with Syria, which stretches for about 900 kilometers.

Historically, Japan has deep ties with Turkey. In October, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Erdogan confirmed they will reinforce cooperation between the two countries at a summit meeting. In mid-November, a Group of 20 summit meeting will be held in Turkey. We urge Japan, the United States and European nations to proactively support the country in measures to deal with terrorism and the refugee crisis.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 4, 2015)


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