World must respect election victory, says Erdogan

Supporters of Turkey's AKP celebrate in Istanbul after their party's stunning electoral success. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Supporters of Turkey's AKP celebrate in Istanbul after their party's stunning electoral success. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hailed a big victory for his ruling party in the country’s parliamentary election and demanded that 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.

The will of the people … opted for stability.The developments in that short span of time made the people say, ‘There is no way out other than stability

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

With all of the ballots counted yesterday, the preliminary results showed that the party had won more than 49 per cent of the votes.

It was projected to get 317 seats in the 550-member parliament, restoring the party’s single-party majority that it lost in June’s election.

The Turkish lira was up about 4 per cent against the dollar yesterday morning, while the main stock index rose by 5.5 per cent as investors cheered the result, which ends a period of political uncertainty.

“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 the western media’s often critical coverage of AKP’s policies over the past few years, including over the ruling party’s backtracking on democratic reforms and moves to muzzle critical voices.

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, which killed some 130 people and were apparently carried out by an Islamic State cell, had 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 again, but the preliminary results suggested it had picked up millions of votes at the expense of a nationalist party and a pro-Kurdish one.

Yesterday, the European Union’s chief diplomat Federica Mogherini and EU commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement praising the strong voter turnout of more than 85 per cent as a sign of the Turkish people’s commitment to democracy. They said the 28-nation group would work with the new government to advance ties.