With 90 percent of the votes counted, current Turkish President Recep Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) were poised to win the general election Sunday with more than 50 percent of the vote in a convincing victory that may give the AKP decisive power to make constitutional changes. The elections, the second in five months, came as unrest continued in the region and a large Kurdish ethnic minority took to the streets in protest.
Erdoğan promised to bring stability to the region, vowing to combat multiple security threats. “It has become apparent how important stability is to our nation. All of us should respect the attitude of the national will,” Erdoğan told supporters Sunday, the Washington Post reported.
AKP leader Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey's prime minister, tweeted “Elhamdulillah,” or “Thanks be to God,” as the vote tally swung in AKP's favor, the Guardian reported.
Erdoğan's conservative party lost an outright majority in the June election and has struggled to maintain control in the region amid several ongoing security threats. On its border to the south, Turkey has been contending with runoff from a raging Syrian civil war, with fighting often boiling over onto Turkish soil. Turkish soldiers, particularly from Kurdish regions, have been an important force in the fight against the terror group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS.
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 1, 2015
The Kurdish People's Democratic Party, representatives for a large ethnic minority that has sought to create its own independent state in southeast Turkey, also posed a threat to Erdoğan's rule. The People's Democratic Party was poised to win around 10 percent of the vote, similar to their results in June.
Following news of Erdoğan's likely win, Kurdish youth took to the streets in protest in Diyarbakir, one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey. Kurds and their supporters started fires in the street in protest, with Turkish police responding by firing water cannons. The following video purports to show Turkish police spraying protestors with water cannons.
It's tense in central Diyarbakir. Can't help but remember celebration by HDP supporters at this very spot 7 June. pic.twitter.com/DlqRg3EEJw
— Ayla Albayrak (@aylushka_a) November 1, 2015