“A victory for democracy”. That was the verdict of the Turkish press today after the ruling AK Party won a new election and also increased its share of the vote. After securing just under half of all ballots cast the AKP can now push ahead with reforms to bolster Turkey’s economic boom. The opposition had done all it could to paint the AKP as a Muslim, rather than secular, party intent on imposing an Iranian-style regime. But in vain. “The AK Party is stronger than ever,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Thank you for your trust.”
The EU congratulated the AKP on its win. On the victory podium Erdogan made it clear membership remained a major goal. “We will continue to work with determination to realise one of the fundamental ideas of this republic and that is EU membership,” he said. The election was called early after Erdogan’s choice of presidential candidate sparked huge protests against any Muslim consolidation of power. But the AKP moved quickly to instigate a popular vote for president defusing the unstable situation. “This result is very good for the stability of the country,” said one man in Istanbul. “I hope the opposition learns lessons from this.” The money markets also reacted favourably to the pro-business party’s win, the Turkish lira rallying against the dollar.