Erdogan praises Turk ′unity′ in restoring AKP majority | News | DW | 02.11.2015
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Erdogan praises Turk 'unity' in restoring AKP majority

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turks have ensured "unity and integrity" by restoring parliamentary majority for his Justice and Development Party. The AKP is projected to win 316 seats in the Turkish parliament.

Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reclaimed its majority in parliament, a result that could aggravate splits between conservatives and secularists suspicious of the rising Islamist authoritarianism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who founded the AKP in 2001.

"Our people clearly showed in the November 1 elections that they prefer action and development to controversy," said Erdogan late Sunday. Voters "have given proof of their strong desire for the unity and integrity" of Turkey, he added.

With 25 percent of the vote, the centrist People's Republican Party (CHP) showed similar results to the June 7 vote and will remain the second-largest party. The far-right Turkish nationalists and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) emerged from Sunday as the losers, with support falling several points since the summer.

Watch video 02:06

AKP reclaims majority in Turkish election

HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas said government officials had pressured his party to cancel rallies. Demirtas said television stations had given party representatives little time compared to that allotted to government attacks branding the HDP the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey and its allies consider a terrorist organization.

"I regret to say that there wasn't a fair or equal election," said Demirtas.

Authorities shut down critical media outlets in the days before the vote, while - following this summer's collapse of a fragile 2013 ceasefire and peace process - a Kurdish insurgency grows. In the largest Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, youths threw stones at police and lit fires as news of the election returns filtered in.

'Praise be'

Erdogan found his quest to consolidate power impeded after June's elections left the AKP short of a majority for the first time since 2002. After short-lived coalition talks, Erdogan called snap elections November 1, and on Sunday he found the result he wanted: With about 85 percent of 54 million voters turning out, the AKP won 316 of 550 seats - far exceeding surveys.

The result will not immediately allow Erdogan to push ahead with formally creating an executive-style presidency in Turkey, similar to the one in place in France. The AKP needs about 15 more members for the parliamentary supermajority needed to call a referendum on the constitution.

"Praise be to Allah," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted Sunday. "Nobody should be in a state of defeat," he later told cheering crowds in his home city of Konya.

"Today there are no losers but winners. We are coming to open our hearts for everyone no matter if they voted for us. ... We are coming to rebuild a new Turkey along with each and every citizen."

mkg/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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