Turkey is preparing to elect a new parliament in what has been billed as one of the most important ballots in the country’s recent history. Sunday’s general election comes four months ahead of schedule. It was called early amid rising tension between the secular elite and the ruling AK Party which has its roots in political Islam. Key issues include religion and security, in the wake of increasing attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.
The economy has also been central to campaigning with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressing his administration’s record of strong growth. The AK Party is widely tipped to win the poll, despite rivals’ claims the premier’s Islamist past threatens Turkey’s secular system of government. It is a charge the prime minister firmly denies.