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.
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.