Victorious Erdogan demands world respects Turkish vote
Published 03/11/2015 | 02:30
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday hailed a big victory for his ruling party in the country's parliamentary election and demanded the world respect the result.
The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, secured a stunning victory in Sunday's snap parliamentary election, sweeping back into single- party rule only five months after losing it.
With all of the ballots counted early yesterday, the preliminary results showed that the party won more than 49pc of the votes. It was projected to get 317 seats in the 550-member parliament, restoring the party's single-party majority that it had lost in a June election.
Turkish financial assets were buoyant yesterday after the AKP's victory as investors hoped it will bring an end to a long period of political uncertainty. The Turkish lira was one big beneficiary from the result, surging by 5pc or so on foreign exchange markets.
"The whole world must show respect. So far I haven't seen such a maturity from the world," Mr Erdogan said after attending prayers at a mosque and visiting his parents' graves.
It was an apparent reference to Western media's often critical coverage of the AKP's policies in the past few years, including the ruling party's backsliding on democratic reforms and moves to muzzle critical voices.
International election observers yesterday criticised media restrictions in the run-up to the vote, including the seizure by the government of an opposition media company and criminal investigations of journalists for allegedly support- ing terrorism or defaming Mr Erdogan. The observers said that incidents of violence as well as physical attacks on party officials had hindered many of the candidates' ability to campaign freely.
"Unfortunately, we came to the conclusion that this campaign was unfair and was characterised by too much violence and by too much fear," Andreas Gross, who headed a delegation of parliamentarians from the Council of Europe, told a news conference in Ankara.
There were no allegations of large-scale fraud.
Mr Erdogan had called for a new election after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu failed to form a coalition with any of the three opposition parties in parliament after the June vote.
Sunday's election was held amid renewed violence, and Mr Erdogan and Mr Davutoglu argued that only a single-party majority could restore stability.
Fighting between Turkey's security forces and Kurdish rebels has left hundreds of people dead and shattered an already-fragile peace process. Two recent massive suicide bombings at pro-Kurdish gatherings that killed some 130 people, apparently carried out by an Isil group cell, also raised tensions.
"The will of the people ... opted for stability," Mr Erdogan said. "The developments in that short span of time made the people say, 'There is no way out other than stability'."
Most analysts had expected the AKP to fall short of a majority again, but the preliminary results suggest it picked up millions of votes at the expense of a nationalist party and a pro-Kurdish party.
Yesterday, the EU's chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, and EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement praising the strong voter turnout of more than 85pc as a sign of the Turkish people's commitment to democracy. They said the 28-nation group would work with the new Turkish government to advance ties.
In Germany, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was now important for Turkey to tackle challenges including fighting Isil militants, solving the Kurdish conflict and overcoming polarisation "in the spirit of national unity and readiness to compromise".
Despite the lira's recovery yesterday, economic analysts were careful not to get too carried away by Sunday's election result, as the fundamentals have not changed.
"This rally should not blind us to the underlying issues in Turkey, such as the continued current account deficit which is causing underlying pressure on the currency as the market continues to fear the first (US) Fed rate hike," said Simon Smith, chief economist at FxPro.