Turkey Returns to Single-Party Rule

Turkey Returns to Single-Party Rule

Turkey’s AK Party swept to an unexpected victory in elections on Sunday, returning the country to single-party rule in an outcome that will boost the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but may sharpen deep social divisions.
With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50% of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected. The main opposition CHP was at 25.4%.
Erdogan said the outcome was a vote for stability and a message to Kurdish insurgents in the country’s restive southeast that violence could not coexist with democracy, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister and AKP leader, Ahmet Davutoglu, tweeted simply “Elhamdulillah” (Thanks be to God), before emerging from his family home in the central Anatolian city of Konya to briefly address crowds of cheering supporters.
“Today is a victory for our democracy and our people ... Hopefully we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019,” he said.

At AKP headquarters in Ankara, under a sky lit by fireworks, Davutoglu urged Turkey’s political parties to work together on a new constitution, which Erdogan has said he would like to see include executive powers for the presidency.
A senior official from the main CHP opposition, which had calculated on “reining in” Erdogan’s influence with a coalition government, described the result as “simply a disaster”.
The outcome could aggravate deep splits in Turkey between conservatives who champion Erdogan as a hero of the working class and western-facing secularists suspicious of his authoritarianism.
In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters after support for the pro-Kurdish opposition fell close to the 10% threshold needed to enter parliament.
In June, the AKP lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002. Erdogan had presented Sunday’s polls as a chance to restore stability at a time of tension over Kurdish insurrection and after two bombings, attributed to IS, while critics fear a drift to authoritarianism under the president.
“The election results show that our nation has sided with looking after the environment of stability and trust that was risked on June 7,” he said in a statement.
Since June’s poll, a ceasefire with Kurdish militants has collapsed, the war in neighboring Syria has worsened and Turkey—a NATO member state—has been buffeted by two Islamic State-linked suicide bomb attacks that killed more than 130 people.
Investors and western allies hoped the vote would help restore stability and confidence in an $800 billion economy, allowing Ankara to play a more effective role in stemming a flood of refugees from nearby wars via Turkey into Europe and helping in the battle against Islamic State militants.

 Presidential Republic
Erdogan, Turkey’s most powerful leader in generations, resigned as prime minister last year and became Turkey’s first directly elected president with the aim of transforming it from a largely ceremonial position to a strong executive post.
The AKP still lacks a majority big enough to change the constitution. But being the sole party in power, Erdogan will be able to reassert his influence over the government.
“Turkey lost considerable ground in economy, politics and terror during this period, and gains were lost. Voters appeared to want to bring back stability once again,” a second AKP official said.
Some western allies, foreign investors and Turks had seen an AKP coalition with the CHP as the best hope of easing sharp divisions in the EU-candidate nation, hoping it might keep Erdogan’s authoritarian instincts in check.


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