What Happened in Turkey Yesterday: Stunning, 'Nuclear'

Liberal pro-Kurdish party will have seats in Parliament for first time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2015 6:26 AM CDT
What Happened in Turkey Yesterday: Stunning, 'Nuclear'
Supporters of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party celebrate after the election results in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday.   (Emrah Gurel)

"This is a nuclear explosion" is how an expert on Turkey puts it to the Washington Post. The country's ruling party today finds itself with few options to form a new government after it was stripped of its parliamentary majority and opposition parties ruled out joining it in a coalition pact. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party won about 41% of the votes yesterday and was projected to take 258 seats—18 below the minimum required to rule alone and ending its 13-year single-party rule. As the New York Times reports, after more than a decade as PM, Erdogan was last year elected to the somewhat "ceremonial post" of president, and the result was a stunning rebuke to Erdogan's ambitions to expand his powers; his hopes of passing constitutional changes that would fashion more of an executive presidency, more akin to our own version, are on hold, reports the Atlantic.

Turkey has 45 days in which to form a new government after final official results are confirmed, but all three opposition parties have come out against a coalition with the AKP. Turkey's main opposition party, CHP, suggested it should be given the task of forming a government. The liberal pro-Kurdish HDP party dealt the AKP its biggest setback by clearing for the first time the 10% threshold it needed to grab seats in parliament (it'll take about 80 of the chamber's 550). The Guardian frames the significance: "The results will give the Kurds—who, with 20% of Turkey's population, are the country's biggest minority—true representation in parliament. ... The 10% hurdle, dating from the military-authored constitution of 1980, had been intended in part to diminish Kurdish representation in the parliament." (Read more Turkey stories.)

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