Latest update: March 31st, 2014
In Sunday’s vote across Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly Islamist and imperialistic “Justice and Development” AK party appeared to receive an overwhelming majority of the votes cast.
The elections were for heads of localities, but the party makeup of those running is seen as a referendum on the future of Turkey.
This is the first national election since the anti-regime riots last year, during which thousands of people were injured and nearly a dozen died. The vote also took place in the immediate aftermath of the government banning both Twitter and YouTube, and threats to also ban Facebook.
The two challenging parties, the center-left Kemalist Republican Party (CHP) and the right wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), were out in force across Turkey. Turkish television news, NTV, reported with 46 percent of the votes tallied, Erdogan’s Islamist AKP had won 44.9 percent of the vote, with CHP receiving 26.53 percent of the votes and MHP 15.53 percent.
Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s two largest cities, both voted for Erdoğan’s AKP, while a majority of those living in Turkey’s third largest city, Izmir, voted for the CHP.
“The Turkish People voted for Islamism, the Turkish People voted for sharia. This was nothing but a referendum for the regime. The Islamist policies will grow more than ever,” was the message received by The Jewish Press from a Turk who fled his home country to seek refuge in Europe from Turkey’s increasingly paranoid and regressive regime.
“There was no voter fraud, there was no corruption, there were CHP and MHP inspectors at all the ballot boxes,” wrote the disconsolate Turkish ex-patriot.
Term limits prevent Erdoğan from running for prime minister again, but there is widespread speculation he may run in this summer’s presidential election. Others speculate there may be an effort to overturn the limitation on the number of terms a prime minister can serve.
According to a Voice of America report, voting was generally peaceful across the country, but fights and riots broke out in two villages in the southeast of Turkey, near the border with Syria. Eight people were killed and more than a dozen were injured.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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