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Turkey: PM Erdogan wins 3rd term

06-13-2011 18:40 BJT

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Turkey's ruling party has surged to a third term in parliamentary elections, setting the stage for rising regional power to pursue trademark economic growth, assertive diplomacy and an overhaul of the military-era constitution. The Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, fell short of a two-thirds majority in parliament. This will force it to seek support for constitutional change from other political groups.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan never intended to be anywhere else on Sunday night, nor doing anything different. He always knew he'd be in the Turkish capital Ankara declaring victory for his ruling AK Party following the weekend’s national elections. Indeed, everyone in Turkey knew what Erdogan himself did: that the two-term leader would successfully gain a third-term. What was unclear is if his party would succeed in obtaining a much sought after absolute majority. It did not. But that didn't stop Erdogan and his supporters from celebrating their win.

Turkey's ruling party has surged to a third term in parliamentary elections, setting
the stage for rising regional power to pursue trademark economic growth, assertive
diplomacy and an overhaul of the military-era constitution.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister said "The winner here is Turkey. Our democracy. Our brotherhood. Our happiness does not come at the expense of others. Because WE are all together Turkey."

At AK Party headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, the festivities continued, with supporters hearing Erdogan’s speech via satellite.

The city’s mayor – a position formerly held by Erdogan – said the AK party has earned the respect it deserves.

Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul & AK Party Member said "We are human beings, and we can forgive anything … except not being taken seriously. We have shown that we are public servants, and we are helping people to solve their problems."

Some 50 million people cast their ballots in polling stations across the country. The votes followed two months of intense campaigning, that saw candidates crossing the country’s numerous provinces …despite an essentially pre-determined winner.

But Sunday’s ballot appeared to be less a vote for a government, and more a referendum on its leader. Fears that Erdogan and his ruling party would use a national stamp of approval to push through more changes to the constitution, following tweaks made last September, drew many to vote against the Prime Minister. They were encouraged in part by opposition who evoked scare tactics … suggesting Erdogan would usher in a presidential system for Turkey, and seize control of numerous government branches in what would amount to a political coup.

(CHP headquarters)

V/O: On Sunday, the opposition’s CHP leader said his defeated party – which actually gained seats – is growing stronger and stronger.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Opposition leader said "We have four years ahead of us. Our aim is to be the ruling party. We are saying it now, and we won’t give up this aim."

V/O: Erdogan's victory was in part made easier by Turkey's 10 percent electoral threshold … a bar critics say is too high, and undemocratically keeps out Turkey’s smaller interest parties.

V/O: … among them, Kurds, from Turkey’s Southeast, who clashed on Sunday with police in the provincial capital Diyarbakir. Their politicians work around the threshold by running as independents in their districts, where they only need a clear majority to win, and then uniting as a bloc once in office. Individually, they secured 32 seats … a sign their hopes of greater self-determination are not fading.

V/O: Neither are Erdogan's aspirations to lead Turkey for the foreseeable future. His campaign billboards spoke not of 2011, but rather 2023 … and his vision for what Turkey should look like in the next decade.

V/O: Though he’s rarely compared to modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, allusions to his similar strength and influence over the country are often less than subtle.

For now, Erdogan appears to be stronger than ever. These are his people, and they have spoken. They have sent a clear message: it is you we want. And for him, that’s good enough to keep going.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: CNTV.CN

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