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A victory for democracy, but Turkey faces new hallenges.

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A victory for democracy, but Turkey faces new hallenges.

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That is the verdict of the newspapers after Turkey’s ruling AK Party won the election and increased its share of the vote. The Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan must now deal with questions which go to the heart of Turkish society. Among them, whom to nominate as Turkey’s next President, Ankara’s bid to join the European Union, and separatist issues in the south.
The election was a personal triumph for Erdogan, after the army-backed secular elite blocked his nomination of the Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as President, fearing he would erode Turkey’s traditional separation between religion and state.

It’s a divisive issue. One of Erdogan’s ministers has already said that Gul remains the best choice. The AK Party’s victory has not pleased the secularists. One woman said the founder of modern Turkey, Kamal Ataturk must be turning in his grave. Southern Turkey is also a worry for the government. Separatist Kurdish passions are rising. People living in Diyarbakir criticise Ankara for not doing enough to improve their lives. Overall, though, analysts say the AK Party succeeded because the voters wanted to give a clear mandate, and refused to give the army any excuse to interfere.