18 September 2010 /NAZLI ILICAK SABAH
When Erdoğan was elected mayor of İstanbul in 1994, I was very afraid and reacted in a way typical of elistist Turks, thinking that “İstanbul has fallen.” However, I took a different approach and tried to get to know him and his constituency.
The more I knew them, the more I liked them. I appreciated Erdoğan’s service to İstanbul. The “religious fundamentalism is on the rise in Turkey” paranoia which was spread by the military in the events of Feb. 28, 1997 disturbed me greatly. I came closer to the Welfare Party (RP). I realized that although some of RP leader Necmettin Erbakan’s statements are disturbing, his supporters are valuable people. The people I saw there were patriotic, hardworking and nice. Initially, when I got to know them individually, I thought that each person was different from the others whom I approached with skepticism. When I began to know the others as well, I began to lose my prejudices and think freely. No fears or concerns were left behind. I advise you to do the same to get rid of your fears.