Single-party AKP rule returns, but rifts remain

Peoples are waiting tram in the station, Kayseri TURKEY 10/09/2015

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party is set to form a single-party government once more after a stunning election turnaround that strengthened the hand of strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but sparked concerns it could further divide the country.
The conservative AKP reclaimed the majority it lost just five months ago, confounding opinion polls that had predicted another hung Parliament.
Emboldened by the landslide win, Erdogan said the people had voted for “stability” after renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels and a wave of bloody attacks, and called on the entire world to respect the outcome.
Turkish stocks and the lira soared on the results, which ended the political uncertainty stoked by the inconclusive June vote.
But many Turks were wary of further polarization under a more powerful AKP and the possible threat to democratic rights and freedoms.
The European Union said the vote showed the “strong commitment” of Turks to democracy.
But the pan-European OSCE said in a damning report that the election was marred by a media crackdown and violent attacks, and that the campaign was characterized by “unfairness.”
Turkey’s main opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper labeled the AKP win a “victory of fear” feeding on worries about security and the economy.
Columnist Can Dundar said society was now split in two: “Those who are ready to die for Erdogan and those who cannot stand him anymore have been torn apart.”
The AKP — which until June had won all elections since it first came to power in 2002 — secured almost half the vote to secure 317 seats in the 550-member parliament, according to latest results. The outcome is a huge personal victory for the 61-year-old “Sultan,” who may now be able to secure enough support for his ambitions to become a US-style executive president.
That has set alarm bells ringing about how much power will rest in the hands of a man who critics say is already showing signs of autocratic rule by clamping down hard on any opponents, including the media.
Analysts voiced concerns that a stronger AKP could pursue its attacks on opposition businesses and media, as well as maintain a hard-line stance on the Kurdish crisis.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on all parties to agree on a new civilian constitution to replace a 1980 post-coup military-drafted charter, something that has been delayed for years.
“Let’s work together toward a Turkey where conflict, tension and polarization are non-existent,” he told thousands of supporters outside AKP headquarters in Ankara.


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