Turkey’s strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tightened his grip on power decisively on Sunday as his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) swept back to single-party government with an unexpectedly convincing win in national elections.
The high-stakes vote, Turkey’s second in five months, took place in a climate of mounting tension and violence following an inconclusive June poll in which the conservative, Islamic-leaning AKP failed to secure an outright majority for the first time since coming to power in 2002.
The result could exacerbate divisions in a country deeply polarised along both ethnic and sectarian lines; Erdoğan is adored by supporters who hail him as a transformative figure who has modernised the country, but loathed by critics who see see him as an increasingly autocratic, even despotic leader……
Disappointment reigned in a small teahouse close to the party headquarters as a small crowd of men silently watched the election result being counted on television. “I can’t believe this,” said a retired teacher of 59. “I feel heartbroken. [The AKP] steal and kill, they put pressure on everyone, they muzzle the press, but they still win. I have lost faith in this democracy.”