Ankara – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to have easily won re-election with his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) winning almost 48 per cent of the vote, a result that will allow them to comfortably form a single-party government.
With just over 70 per cent of the vote counted, the AKP vote nationwide stood at 47.6 per cent, ahead of the staunchly secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) on 19.9 per cent and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party coming in third on 14.7 per cent of the vote.
No other party looked close to passing the 10 per cent of the vote needed to be represented in parliament although a number of pro- Kurdish independents looked set to be elected.
Erdogan’s AKP campaigned on its strong economic record since first winning power in 2002 but the election will be seen as a victory over not just the opposition but also the Turkish military which has clashed with the government on a number of occasions over the AKP”s Islamist tendancies.
Millions of people urged on by the retired generals took to the streets in April and June to protest the prospect of against the AKP and Gul becoming president.
They objected to Gul’s past involvement in conservative Islamist groups, the fact that his wife wears an Islamic-style headscarf – no president’s wife in Turkey has ever worn one – and also at the prospect of the AKP controlling the government, the parliament and presidency.
The military then stepped in in April effectively scuttling the presidential election process by declaring it would do whatever necessary to protect secularism.
The plot thickens.