Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Turkey PM's party comes out on top in municipal elections

ISTANBUL — The party of embattled Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan headed for a comfortable win in municipal elections on Sunday, despite a corruption scandal and complaints about his increasingly authoritarian behavior.

With more than 60 percent of the vote counted, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) was leading with about 44 percent of the votes, well ahead of its nearest rival, the Republican People's Party (CHP), which had 26 percent.

The result will be seen as a resounding victory for Erdogan and a vindication of his increasingly heavy handed tactics, including bans imposed on the social media sites Twitter and YouTube in the days ahead of the vote, said Soli Ozel, professor of international relations at Kadir Has University.

"The tactics worked," he said. "It is a big success for Erdogan and a big failure for the opposition."

Shortly before midnight, Erdogan declared victory to a jubilant crowd in Ankara, delivering a defiant speech in which he taunted his opponents and vowed to hunt down those responsible for disseminating allegations of corruption against him.

"We are going to go into the caves of those traitors," he said, referring to the Gulenist movement headed by Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic religious leader and former ally, whom Erdogan has accused of leaking a series of tapes that appear to reveal widespread corruption within his administration. "Some of them may run away but they are going to pay for what they have done."

The closely watched poll took on the significance of a nationwide referendum on Erdogan's 11-year rule after a slew of corruption allegations threatened to tarnish his reputation. Taking the form of leaked recordings of conversations mostly featuring the prime minister that were posted anonymously online, the allegations prompted Erdogan to lash out at social media and crack down on journalists.

Many of those who headed to the polls in central Istanbul, where anti-government protests were ruthlessly suppressed last year, said they feared for democratic freedoms in a Turkey run by the increasingly authoritarian prime minister.

"People are voting just to get rid of Erdogan," said Meltem Safak, 28, who participated in last summer's demonstrations and cast her ballot for the CHP. "We are voting against dictatorship."

Yet as Sunday's result showed, Erdogan can count on the loyalties of a core constituency of Turks, many of them working and lower middle class, who share his conservative inclinations and applaud the transformation he has wrought to the once dismal Turkish economy. Maps of the results showed the secular opposition CHP leading in constituencies in the wealthier, urban, coastal areas while the AKP was winning in the vast, less affluent hinterland.

Turkey PM's party comes out on top in municipal elections 03/30/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 30, 2014 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.