President Tayyip Erdogan sought a crushing victory for his vision of a “new Turkey” at elections on Sunday that would furnish him with sweeping executive powers opponents say could undermine democracy.
But Erdogan’s ambitions could be thwarted by a Kurdish-rooted opposition party that is looking to enter Parliament for the first time, and could put an end to 12 years of single-party rule for the AK Party Erdogan founded.
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey. Approximately 56 million Turkish voters are eligible to cast their ballots to elect 550 members of national parliament. (AP Photo)
The mood was tense at some polling stations, after a bombing on Friday killed two people and wounded at least 200 at a rally for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Its success could help put an end to a three-decade Kurdish insurgency and keep Erdogan’s political ambitions at check.
Erdogan hopes the ruling AKP can win a resounding majority to change the constitution and create a US-style executive presidency. Opponents say his vision of the presidency would lack necessary checks and balances. “They actually mean Turkey will be unstoppable,” Erdogan said.