Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police are investigating a suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights, near the location of two shooting deaths last week.

  2. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7

    College

    Duke has been tabbed the preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' basketball poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.
  3. Richard Spencer speaks, and Gainesville emerges weary but at peace

    News

    GAINESVILLE — Fists raised, a sea of defiant student protesters at the University of Florida relentlessly shouted down the white nationalist on stage. Richard Spencer paced, irritated, clinging to his chance to talk.

    Protesters scream at supporters of Richard Spencer after his speech at the Phillips Center at the University of Florida.  [Thursday October 19, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Pentagon investigating troubling questions after deadly Niger ambush

    Military

    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, troubled by a lack of information two weeks after an ambush on a special operations patrol in Niger left four U.S. soldiers dead, is demanding a timeline of what is known about the attack, as a team of investigators sent to West Africa begins its work.

  5. In the military, trusted officers became alleged assailants in sex crimes

    Military

    The Army is grappling with a resurgence of cases in which troops responsible for preventing sexual assault have been accused of rape and related crimes, undercutting the Pentagon's claims that it is making progress against sexual violence in the ranks.