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By Asma Alabed
Since the onset of the Gezi Park protests that began in May 2013, Turkey has faced consecutive months of turbulence, particularly testing the popularity of the ruling part, the AKP.
After more than a decade of economic growth and relative stability, last December one of Turkey's biggest scandals arose. Following corruption allegations, three ministers that were part of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's cabinet resigned after corruption allegations Shortly afterwards their sons were arrested upon the discovery of 4.5 millions dollars stored in the home of minister Erdogan Bayraktar's son.
Prime minister Erdogan claimed that former ally and Islamic cleric was trying to bring the AKP through his followers working in the judicial system and in retaliation, those associated with Gulen were removed or reassigned from their position. The corruption scandal in Turkey not only shed light on the tensions between political movements and parties, but placed a spotlight on the bigger picture- the incredible social division in Turkish society.
Following the scandal, many, including the CHP party, demanded Erdogan's resignation, while AKP supporters viewed the scandal as an attack on Erdogan himself and years of AKP rule. Tensions between secular and conservative parties and citizens are rising - and there is no indication that it will get better before it gets worse.
The friction only intensify ed later when leaks of private political conversations were released, including a tape that appears to be a conversation between Prime Minister Erdogan and his son asking him to hide the laundered money. An outraged Erdogan claimed the tape was fabricated and once again accused Fethullah Gulen. Although its authenticity was not verified, parts of other crucial political conversations were including one of Turkish intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan discussing a possible intervention in Syria. However the tape allegedly furthers Fidan's conversation by discussing staging a fake attack on Turkish soil to provide grounds for an intervention, which he claimed were undeniably false. Many officials pointed fingers at members of the Gulen or Hizmet movement which have been called "an alliance of evil" by Erdogan.
Although President Abdullah Gul stated that banning social media networks "cannot be approved" in order to protect national security, the government shortly shut down YouTube and Twitter, which raised multiple concerns regarding freedom rights within Turkey. The ban was not lifted until both media platforms agreed to remove any and all traces of the leaks but the ban backfired amongst many citizens.
Nevertheless, after multiple obstacles the AKP managed to claim victory in the recent Turkish elections... but the question still remains. Is the lack of a strong opposition to the AKP contributing to its popularity rather than its efficiency? Or was the win only an indication of the furthering social and political divide within Turkish society itself?
This article was published in The Clarion, official newspaper of CMUN , the Model United Nations of Barcelona. Read the other articles:
or read the whole issue here.