PHOTO: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu addresses a crowd after Sunday’s election victory
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has hailed the victory of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sunday’s Parliamentary elections as one for “stability”.
Having failed to renew its majority in a June ballot, the AKP secured power yesterday with almost 50% of the vote.
Speaking to reporters on Monday after praying at an Istanbul mosque, Erdoğan expressed “gratitude to the nation” and dismissed criticism in international media about leadership:
Why don’t they respect the national will? They haven’t displayed respect since the day when the national will elected Erdoğan as president with 52 percent up to this date. One should ask, “Is this your understanding of democracy?”
The entire world needs to respect this. I haven’t seen very much of such respect in the world.
Erdoğan said Turkey should be united in the face of “great plots”:
I always said something; I said “one nation”, “one flag”, “one homeland”, and “one state”….We need to enrich these four titles and respond to those plots via claiming these.
The AKP won 49.4% of the vote to claim 315 seats in the 550-member Parliament, with almost all ballots counted.
The party fell short of a super-majority to ensure Constitutional changes in favor of the Presidential system sought by Erdoğan. The AKP needed 367 seats for that assurance, although 330 would be enough to take the issue to a referendum.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP, which crossed the 10% threshold in June to enter Parliament for the first time, just held on with 10.7% on Sunday. If the HDP had fallen short, re-allocation of its 61 MPs would have given even more seats to the AKP.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) only managed to slightly improve on its June 7 performance, with 25.8%. The right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), apparently losing backers to the AKP, fell from 16.3% to 11.9%.
The CHP is expected to hold 133 seats, alongside the HDP’s 61 and MHP’s 41.
Most observers had expected the election to produce another inconclusive result, forcing renewal of talks for a coalition that failed after the June vote. In that ballot, the AKP — which has ruled Turkey since November 2002 — fell to 276 seats.
However, the AKP campaign for “stability” — calling for a renewal of its majority in the face of problems for the Turkish currency, Erdoğan’s suspension of the “peace process” with the Kurds, suicide bombings killing scores inside Turkey, and the Syrian crisis — appears to have succeeded.
The victory comes after recent denunciation of the AKP and Erdoğan for crackdown on dissent, including the arrest of a number of high-profile media figures and closures of newspapers and broadcasters.