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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey speaks with President Barack Obama. The two leaders appear to be in complete agreement over Syria and Egypt.

With more than 80 percent of votes counted, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a huge electoral victory on Sunday, returning to absolute parliamentary majority with at least 315 seats in the 550-member parliament, able to form a government on its own.

According to reports, even though the vote took place at a time of great tension and caustic, partisan campaigning by Turkey’s four leading political parties, as some 54 million Turks voted in 175,000 polling stations, in 85 provinces — there were hardly any complaints of electoral fraud or voter suppression.


Most opinion polls predicted a repeat of the June election, when Erdoğan’s AKP had won only 40 percent of the vote, losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in 13 years. “Today is a day of victory,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared before a crowd of supporters, smiling broadly. “The victory belongs to the people.”

Every opposition party’s support was eroded on Sunday, with early counts showing the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) teetering over the abyss with barely the 10% electoral threshold needed to enter parliament at all—following its 13% victory in June that let it into parliament for the first time in its history. Now, should the HDP stay out, the number of AKP MPs will rise even more, to the magic number that would give the president’s allies the votes they need to enact constitutional changes.

Indeed, this victory may embolden Erdogan to push again for a more formidable presidency, modeled after the US and then some. It will certainly strengthen the Turkish president’s hand in dealing with his Western allies, on pressing issues to the West such as the mass migration from the Middle East to central and western Europe, and the rise of the Islamic State, which frightens those migrants into fleeing in the first place.


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