Erdogan survives electoral challenge
TURKEY'S veteran prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has faced down his strongest electoral challenge since taking office 12 years ago after a bruising campaign in which officials banned Twitter and YouTube for publishing allegations about his family and associates.
The local elections, widely seen a referendum on his leadership, came after months of mass anti-government protests and a drip-feed of damaging security leaks and corruption scandals. Mr Erdogan's party polled strongly with almost half the votes, and was poised to hold on to the key stronghold of Istanbul, the biggest city.
"Despite all the unwanted statements and speeches at rallies until now, our people will give the final verdict," said Mr Erdogan yesterday. "All the things that have been said will now only be history."
Turks came out in force, with an expected turnout of more than 80pc of the country's 52 million registered voters to the polls to elect city mayors and provincial assembly members.
Municipal elections are usually a low-key affair, but this year mayoral candidates for the AKP, his party, have been forced into the back seat, as Mr Erdogan campaigned vigorously to shore up support. He attacked his opponents for the leaks, saying those responsible were "traitors". He said: "Go to the ballot box and teach them a lesson."
The elections are seen as an indicator for Turkey's presidential elections, which are set for August, and parliamentary elections in 2015. (© Daily Telegraph, London)