Politics, Part 2

Today is the national election in Turkey.  This is an extremely important election, and the results can have powerful future effects.  As stated in Politics, Part 1, the AKP (current ruling party) has a chance to win both Prime Minister/President and the majority in Parliament.  The West has recently become very concerned about this scenario, especially as US/Turkey relations have been strained.

The AKP has also stated its intention to re-write the Turkish constitution.  If they win both the executive and legislative party, they will not have to consult with other party leaders on the revisions.

A few interesting things about the election process:

  • Polls open early in the morning, but close at 5 pm.
  • All posters, signs, etc. had to be taken down by yesterday afternoon.
  • No alcohol will be sold until tomorrow afternoon.
  • Media reporting on results is restricted until 9 pm tonight (no CNN fancy graphics or “The Best Political Team in America” rhetoric.)
  • 15 political parties are on the ballot, but they must win 10% national vote in order to be seated in Parliament.
  • Voter turnout is expected to be high.  The total amount of eligible voters is 50 million.  In 2007, 85% of eligible voters turned out to vote. (Wow! Wake up, America!)

HUGE sign for Erdogan, the current Prime Minister. This is at a major ferry port.

Personally, I’ve found this whole process very interesting.  I live in a city of 15 million people (in 2009 Houston’s population was 2.25 million), and most use some form of mass transportation.  I’ve been truly amazed at the campaign posters, enormous signs (covering large buildings), seemingly endless campaign vans that drive through the streets, blasting their party messages, pop-up campaign stores, brochures, car door hangers…it’s been endless.  As I don’t watch Turkish TV or listen to the radio, I don’t know if there’s been much advertising on digital media.  But the money that must have been spent…it’s incredible.  I’d be very curious to see how the money spent here compares to the ridiculous amount spent in the States.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill Shirley
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 13:35:05

    The Houston Metro area of about 6 million may be more comparable – about 45% the people in Istanbul.

    I was wondering, so checked. Istanbul is more dense: 1,505/km^2 v 2,481/km^2. A 3:5 ratio. (other comparison: Tokyo: 5,847/km^2; Mexico City: 5,960.3/km2; NYC: 10,630/km^2; Chicago: 4,447.4/km2; LA: 2,913/km2) Houston is the least geographically constrained of all these cities.

    aside: Houston can do plenty of growing without getting bigger, let’s stop funding super-loops!

    p.s. i noticed there’s some seismic activity there, hmm …


  2. David
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 18:01:22

    Isn’t watching TV in the language you are trying to learn supposed to be helpful?


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