Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Turkey dealt a big blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which lost its absolute majority in the legislature. The elections also heralded a win for three Armenian candidates, who were running on the slate of three different parties.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been seeking a two-thirds majority in the 550-seat parliament to create a presidential republic. But with virtually all votes tallied, unofficial results showed his Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) winning 41 percent of the vote — well down from the nearly 50 percent it won four years ago, reported Voice of America.
For the first time, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) cleared the 10 percent vote count threshold it needed to join parliament, with some analysts predicting it would seat nearly 75 lawmakers. Those projections triggered celebrations late Sunday in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
Late Sunday, a politically weakened Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reminded backers that his AKP was still the clear victor. He spoke to supporters in Ankara without acknowledging his party had lost its majority and that it will need to form a coalition for the first time since it came to power 13 years ago.
“Everyone should see that AKP is the victorious party and the winner of these elections,” he said. He also warned that no one should try to build a victory from an election they lost.
Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) supporters celebration for their victory, June 8, 2015,
The main secular opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP, won about 25 percent of the vote, while the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, MHP, won a little more than 16 percent.
MHP was poised to take 85 seats in the new parliament, and analysts say it is the most likely to form a government with Erdogan’s party.
Erdogan said in a statement Monday “it is of great importance that all the political forces show responsible behavior and the necessary sensitivity to preserve the atmosphere of stability and confidence in our country and our democratic achievements.”
Three Armenians Elected
Sunday’s vote is being called historic, not only because Erdogan lost his control of parliament, but also because three Armenians were elected to the legislature.
Garo Paylan ran for parliament as the second nominee from the HDP’s third election district in Istanbul.
Markar Esayan, an Armenian-Turkish journalist who writes for the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak, entered the parliament on an AKP ticket as the 12th candidate from Istanbul’s second election district.
Selina Doğan, an attorney, ran in the the Republican People’s Party (CHP) slate and was elected as the first deputy candidate from the second election districtst. Doğan si a lawyer.
Rounding out the list of Christians elected to parliament was Erol Dora, a member of Turkey’s Syriac community and a lawyer, and ran on the HDP slate becoming the third deputy candidate from Mardin.