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Feature: Turkish public opinion at odds before general elections
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19:00, July 20, 2007

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As Turkey''s general elections, slated for July 22, is imminent, the public opinion remains in deep divisions amid the hectic public campaigns staged by all parties.

The divisions mainly focus on what a modern Turkey should be. The secularists in Turkey, were spooked by the Islamist-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party''s (AKP) ascent, fearing the country''s secular foundation would be impaired.

However, the supporters of the AKP, which has dominated the Turkish parliament for almost five years, demonstrated their steadfast support to the party mainly thanks to its remarkable achievements in economy.

At the busy downtown Health Square, Nihayet Aksullu, a 25-year- old woman working at a hospital in Ankara, told Xinhua that she will definitely vote for the AKP because she views the party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also the incumbent prime minister, as a qualified and honest government leader.

Apart from the charisma of the party''s leader, the young lady is also attracted by the Islamic values embraced by the AKP.

"To wear a scarf or not does not necessarily mean anything," said Aksullu, who is wearing a white-black scarf to cover her hair, adding "To judge a person is not by the appearance but by the things inside."

As head scarves are banned in Turkey''s public buildings, a lot of religious Muslim women were rejected by universities or civil servant posts just because of the scarves.

Among all the reasons that attracted the voters, the AKP''s remarkable achievements in economy was the most rational one, which not only consolidated its influence among the poor working class but also magnetized part of middle class, which is traditionally supporter of the secular parties.

A street vender selling Doner Kebab, a tradition Turkish food, told Xinhua that the reason why many Turkish people are in favor of the AKP is that the party managed to boost national economy and keep inflation rate low in the past years.

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