Victorious — and Banned


PLEDGE: Victor Erdogan, before a portrait of Atatürk, promises not to mix government and religion

By law, Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not even be in politics. In 1998, the charismatic former mayor of Istanbul was convicted under Turkey's religious-hate-speech statutes for reciting a poem that contained the lines: "Our minarets are our bayonets, our believers are our soldiers." He served four months in jail and was banned from public office for life.

Yet last week the clean-cut populist was back. His pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AK) drubbed Turkey's secular old guard in the general election, amassing nearly two-thirds of the seats in parliament — albeit with only one-third of the popular vote....

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