Erdogan says election win ‘was vote for stability’
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday’s election result, in which the AK Party he founded regained its majority, showed that the nation had chosen to protect an environment of stability and confidence.
The conservative Islamic-rooted party gained 49.4 percent of the vote, giving it 315 seats in the 550-member parliament.
“Our people clearly showed in the November 1 elections that they prefer action and development to controversy,” he said in a statement. Voters “have given proof of their strong desire for the unity and integrity” of Turkey, he added.
Erdogan also said in an emailed statement that the most important message from the result was for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group that “violence, threats and bloodshed cannot coexist with democracy and the rule of law.”
Turkey’s security forces have been battling PKK militants in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeast in a renewed surge in violence since a ceasefire collapsed in July.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described the outcome as a victory for democracy.
“Today is a victory for our democracy and our people,” Davutoglu told a crowd of cheering AKP supporters outside his home in the central Anatolian city of Konya, a ruling party stronghold.
“Hopefully we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019,” he said, referring to Turkey’s next general election in four years time.
Davutoglu is expected to make a broader policy speech at his party headquarters in the capital Ankara later on Sunday.
Investors and Western allies hope the vote will help restore stability as well as confidence in the more than $800 billion (518 billion pound) Turkish economy, allowing Ankara to play a more effective role in stemming a flood of refugees from neighboring wars via Turkey into Europe and helping in the battle against ISIS militants.
This time, there were few of the flags, posters and campaign buses that thronged the streets in the build-up to June’s vote. But President Recep Tayip Erdogan framed this sombre re-run as a pivotal opportunity for Turkey to return to single-party AKP rule after months of political uncertainty.
“It is obvious in today’s election how beneficial stability is for our nation and today our citizens will make their choice based on this,” Erdogan told reporters after voting in his home district of Camlica on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Flanked by his wife in a gold-colored headscarf, he voted under tight security with snipers watching from nearby rooftops.
Voters were sharply divided in their views on a return to single-party rule or the prospect of a coalition.
“The little welfare, better living conditions, bigger house and fancier appliances we have, we all owe it to AK Party and Erdogan,” said Nurcan Gunduz, 24, at the airport in Ankara.
“Look at the state of the country after the June 7 election results and we didn’t even have a coalition government. I can’t imagine how worse it would be if we did have it.”
The election was prompted by the AKP’s inability to find a junior coalition partner after the June outcome. Erdogan’s critics said it represented a gamble by the combative leader to win back enough support so the party can eventually change the constitution and give him greater presidential powers.