Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Drama in Saadet Continues

The rift in the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi -- SP) (see July 13 post) grew deeper this week after Necemettin Erbakan, the party's honorary leader and a veteran figure in Turkish Islamist politics, failed after attempting to challenge the results of the July congress. During the congress, SP leader Numan Kurtulmus succeeded in blocking the nomination of Erbakan favorites (many of them relatives) to the party's central executive board.

Erbakan has renounced speculations that he is planning to form a new party, and the challenge further raised tensions in the SP, the Islamic right challenger to the AKP.

Some analysts have speculated that the AKP's strong position on Israel and links to groups like the IHH, the Islamic charity behind the Gaza flotilla affair, were an attempt to out-do the SP's efforts to get votes among Islamist voters by playing the populist card on Israel. For more on this point, see my recent piece in The Jerusalem Post.