Turkey: In boost for Erdogan, Turkey returns to single-party rule | Reuters

Turkey’s Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to an unexpected victory in elections on Sunday, returning the country to single-party rule in an outcome that will boost the power of President Tayyip Erdogan but may sharpen deep social divisions. With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50 percent of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected. Erdogan said the outcome was a vote for stability, and a message to Kurdish insurgents in the country’s restive southeast that violence could not coexist with democracy. Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted simply “Elhamdulillah” (Thanks be to god), before emerging from his family home in the central Anatolian city of Konya to briefly address crowds of cheering supporters.

Turkey: Erdogan’s party enjoys decisive election victory in Turkey | The Washington Post

Less than half a year after losing its hold on Turkey’s parliament, the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party regained a decisive majority Sunday in a dramatic snap election. It marks a considerable political coup for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been at the helm of the country for 13 years and now looks likely to further entrench his rule. In the buildup to Sunday’s election, a vast majority of pollsters and political analysts predicted a hung parliament and anticipated a tricky process of coalition-building that would have complicated Erdogan’s own designs on power. But by nightfall on Sunday, Erdogan’s ruling party, also known by the Turkish abbreviation AKP, had taken almost 50 percent of the vote and was expected to form a single-party government once more. The result took many experts by surprise.

Editorials: Turkey’s election means turning from democracy towards autocracy | Yavuz Baydar/The Guardian

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once more managed to fight through to victory. With a landslide in Sunday’s elections, he now impose his will more resolutely than ever before, making certain that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) extends its writ over the country another four years. He gambled, crossed many lines, and won. He has now the half of the national vote on his side to argue for legitimacy and perhaps even as carte blanche to extend his rule into autocracy. This was a result that a very few had predicted. Most pollsters had tipped the AKP gaining around 44% of the vote, short of being able to form a government on its own. So for the AKP to come away with the scale of the victory it was a shock. The other conundrum was whether the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy party (HDP) would fall below the critical 10% threshold (to enter parliament). It managed to score above that the relief of many who had been concerned that the Kurdish movement out of parliament would destabilise Turkey further.

Turkey: Ruling Party Loses Parliamentary Majority | New York Times

Turkish voters delivered a rebuke on Sunday to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his party lost its majority in Parliament in a historic election that thwarted his ambition to rewrite Turkey’s Constitution and further bolster his clout. The results represented a significant setback for Mr. Erdogan, an Islamist who has steadily increased his power since being elected last year as president, a partly but not solely ceremonial post. The prime minister for more than a decade before that, Mr. Erdogan has pushed for more control of the judiciary and cracked down on any form of criticism, including prosecuting those who insult him on social media, but his efforts appeared to have run aground on Sunday. The vote was also a significant victory to the cadre of Kurds, liberals and secular Turks who found their voice of opposition to Mr. Erdogan during sweeping anti-government protests two years ago. For the first time, the Kurdish slate crossed a 10 percent threshold required to enter Parliament.

Turkey: Weakening Economy Threatens Turkish Government’s Election Chances | Wall Street Journal

As Turkey prepares for June elections, the government’s 13-year hold on power is facing a new threat: diminishing faith in its long-trusted economic management. Since coming to power on the heels of a financial crisis, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has dominated Turkey’s political landscape, winning six consecutive elections. Even after a spate of protests and corruption scandals, it scored a convincing victory in local ballots last year. But hit by a combination of stagnating economic growth, weakening investor confidence and concerns over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, the AKP is entering an election with a majority of voters saying the economy is poorly run. That is emerging as a real risk to Mr. Erdogan’s continued political ambitions.

Turkey: Erdogan Wins Landmark Turkish Election | Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan swept to a landslide victory in Turkey’s first direct presidential election, extending his 12-year grip on power and securing a mandate to fulfill his pledge of creating a “new Turkey.” The country’s election board announced Mr. Erdogan had won according to preliminary results, obtaining enough votes to avoid a runoff. With 99% of the ballots counted, the premier had secured 52%, far ahead of his nearest opponent Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a diplomat with a low profile in domestic politics who garnered 38% of the vote, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

Editorials: The presidential elections that have changed Turkey | Diba Nigar Goksel/Al Jazeera

On August 10, the citizens of Turkey will vote for their country’s president for the first time in history. While previously it was parliament that voted for the head of state, the system now in place is a two-round popular election. The election has changed Turkey even before it has taken place. There are three contenders in the race. The candidate of the AKP, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been prime minister for 11 years. His leadership style has antagonised those it didn’t captivate. Besides reigning over government accomplishments in areas like health care and transportation infrastructure, he has tackled entrenched challenges such as military tutelage and the Kurdish problem. But his actions and rhetoric have polarised society and his intolerance of dissent has created a lot of bad blood. Under Erdogan’s leadership checks on executive power one by one ebbed away.  Erdogan frames his presidency as the necessary step to bring the AKP’s New Turkey vision to fruition. Every time Turkish citizens have gone to the ballot box since November 2002, the AKP has been victorious. Thus Erdogan enters the race riding a wave of invincibility, propelled by a narrative of a predestined victory, not only as the will of the nation, but also of God.

Turkey: In a First, Germany’s Turks Get to Help Decide Turkish Election | Wall Street Journal

Far from Istanbul, voters at cardboard polling booths set up in a Berlin sporting arena are helping to decide whether Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s becomes Turkey’s next president. The large Turkish diaspora in Germany and other countries around the world is for the first time getting its say in a Turkish election, with presidential voting kicking off in a change that offers new clout to the community here. The recent change in Turkish law allowing Turks abroad to vote has been heralded as a sign of political empowerment. It is a move that comes as Turks in Germany are also being courted by German politicians after years of being ignored—amid new laws that make it easier for Germany-born Turks to gain dual citizenship and the appointment of the country’s first minister of Turkish descent. The community may not be large enough to make much difference for Mr. Erdogan, who is widely expected to win Turkey’s first direct presidential elections handily. But the prime minister has made visits to Germany this year, packing stadiums in Cologne and Berlin.

Turkey: Challengers Claim Media Bias in Turkey’s Presidential Campaign | VoA News

With less than a month before the Turkish people go to the polls to elect a president for the first time in their history, a dispute has broken out on the disproportionate amount of media coverage Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been receiving on public television as opposed to the other two candidates. Turkey’s first popular presidential election is mired in controversy over its fairness. Both of the rivals of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the August presidential election are crying foul. Selahattin Demirtas, candidate for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, is accusing Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT of blatant bias favoring Prime Minister Erdogan.

Turkey: Erdogan To Run In First Direct Presidential Election | Eurasia Review

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister for the last 11 years and an increasingly authoritarian and polarising figure, will, as expected, run in the country’s first direct election for the presidency on 10 August. No one expects him to lose, least of all Erdogan himself. His Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won the last six general and local elections. He faces a term limit as prime minister next year. Erdogan will run against Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the former head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, who is the joint candidate of the two biggest opposition parties, the centre-left Republican Peoples Party (CHP), established by Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, and the right-wing National Action Party (MHP), and Selahattin Demirtas, a pro-Kurdish politician. By uniting under one candidate, the CHP and the MHP, which represent the secularist elite, hope to narrow the distance with the AKP.

Turkey: Opposition fears power grab as Erdoğan stands for presidency | The Guardian

Turkey’s worst-kept political secret was revealed when the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) announced that the current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will be its official candidate to become the country’s next president. Six weeks ahead of the country’s first direct presidential elections, the AKP announced Erdoğan’s candidacy on Tuesday to a cheering crowd of party members. Erdoğan’s nomination, kept under wraps until Tuesday, has long been rumoured among political analysts and the media. The nomination was revealed at an extravagant and emotionally charged event in the capital, Ankara, where the prime minister’s long-time political ally Mehmet Ali Şahin, former parliamentary speaker and justice minister, addressed a more than 4,000 party members. Şahin stressed that the decision had been unanimous. “In order to designate a presidential candidate, at least 20 signatures of party MPs are needed,” he said. “We were able to gather all signatures of all our [party MPs].”

Editorials: The Turkish Ballot-Box Revolt That Wasn’t | Sohrab Ahmari/Wall Street Journal

The winding streets and alleys that surround Istanbul’s Taksim Square are lined with designer-clothing stores and fashionable nightclubs and bars. The area is popular with the city’s college students and young professionals, and although a high-stakes municipal vote loomed the next day, on Saturday night it was still teeming with Turkish men in tight jeans and young women in dangerously high heels. My guide to this scene was Onur Dedeoglu, a 27-year-old information-systems manager and Istanbul native whom I’d met earlier that day at an election rally for the Republican People’s Party. Known as CHP, it is the main group opposed to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist and increasingly authoritarian government. You could call them the Gezi generation: It was these young people who last summer took to the streets to protest the government’s plan to raze Gezi, a park near Taksim Square, to make way for a commercial development. The protest movement politically awakened the Gezi generation, and on Sunday they would be joining the estimated 2.5 million young Turks voting for the first time—in local elections across the country that were widely considered a test of strength for the movement and for Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

Turkey: Premier Gains Ground in Turkish Elections | Wall Street Journal

Turkey’s prime minister appeared to have scored a decisive victory in local elections seen as a referendum on his rule over an increasingly divided country, setting the stage for a possible run for president. Exit polls showed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, winning a comfortable plurality of votes nationally, but the margin of victory and his party’s control of major cities was unclear early Monday. Two polls showed the party registering 46% of the vote with 80% of the ballots counted, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, securing 28%. In Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, and the capital, Ankara—the most closely watched and influential constituencies—both the government and the opposition claimed victory and accused each another of fraud. The AKP appeared to have held Istanbul but the final results in Ankara were still unclear at midnight.