Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has declared victory for his ruling party after preliminary election results showed it restoring its majority in parliament. State-run TRT television reports that with more than 97% of the votes counted, the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has won just above 49%, which would comfortably restore its ruling majority. "Today is the day of victory but it is also a day for humility," Davutoglu said. The preliminary results suggest that the ruling party's gamble to hold new elections has paid off. Supporters at the party's Ankara and Istanbul headquarters were already waving flags in rapturous celebrations. Crowds outside President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's home in Istanbul were shouting "Turkey is proud of you."
The vote is a rerun of a June election in which AKP surprisingly lost its one-party rule due to a strong showing by a Kurdish party. Most analysts had expected AKP to fall short again, but the preliminary results suggest it picked up millions of votes at the expense of the nationalist MHP and pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, or HDP. AKP's vote tally jumped nearly nine percentage points. Following the vote Sunday, small clashes broke out in Diyarbakir in the Kurdish southeast between protesters and police. Turnout was about 87% among the 54 million people eligible to vote. Turkish Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus of the AKP said the preliminary result indicated that voters wanted stability. "The people wanted calm, they wanted security, they didn't want their peace disturbed." (Read more Turkey stories.)