Turkish president urges respect for AK Party's poll win

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hailed his party's election victory as a vote for "unity and integrity" and demanded the world respect the result.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, secured a stunning victory in Sunday's snap parliamentary election, sweeping back into single-party rule only five months after losing it.

"The whole world must show respect. So far I haven't seen such a maturity from the world," Erdogan said in an apparent reference to Western media's often critical coverage of AKP's policies in the past few years.

With almost all of the ballots counted on Monday, Erdogan's party won 49.4 percent of the vote - enough for a majority with 317 seats.

The main opposition CHP won about 25 percent of the vote (134 seats), while the nationalist MHP party secured almost 12 percent, 40 seats.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party has claimed 10.8 percent to get 59 seats.

In a statement after his party's win, Erdogan said the result "delivered an important message" to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party that "oppression and bloodshed cannot coexist with democracy.

"Our people clearly showed in the November 1 elections that they prefer action and development to controversy," 61-year-old Erdogan said.

Voters "have given proof of their strong desire for the unity and integrity" of Turkey, he added.

Despite the result, the AK Party failed to take the required number of seats needed to call a referendum on changing the constitution and increasing the powers of the president, which Erdogan has sought.

The outcome of the vote came as a surprise to many, as opinion polls had predicted a replay of the June election when the AK Party won only 40 percent and lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

Addressing jubilant AK Party supporters in his hometown Konya, prime minister and party leader, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that all 78 million people of Turkey would be embraced, whether they voted for the party or not.

"We are here to plant seeds of love. There is no rival or enemy on this land. There is only affection," he said.

The AK Party's absolute victory was even over the expectations of the party's own senior team. 

However, the real challenge starts now. There is unprecedented social polarisation in the country, which is apparently why PM Davutoglu gave messages of love and unity as he spoke on Sunday

Amid the security crisis pushed by the PKK and alleged ISIL attacks, decreasing democratic standards and eroding economic stability, the country needs to ease tensions in Turkish society to focus on its real issues.

The victor of the polls has a great chance and responsibility to put an end to the tensions among Turks and "make 78 millions stand shoulder to shoulder" as Davutoglu put it.

"Nobody should get into a psychology of defeat. Our democracy has won," Davutoglu added.

The polls were held amid instability spilling over to Turkey from neighbouring Syria and renewed tensions over the 30-year-old Kurdish conflict.

Three bomb attacks in recent months on political and activist rallies across Turkey, blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), shocked the Turkish public, killing 139 people.

A bomb explosion in October at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara, killed 102 people. The violence marked the worst such attack in the country's modern history.

Sores of Turkish soldiers have been killed in fighting since a ceasefire and talks between the sides broke down in July.

Amid this atmosphere, the currency of the state, the Turkish lira, has massively depreciated, threatening the stability of the economy.

 

Posted on November, 3 2015

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