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Erdogan's Victory

Why the Election Wasn't a Loss for the President and the AKP

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, with the Ottoman military band of Mehter in the background, greets his supporters during a ceremony to mark the 562nd anniversary of the conquest of the city by Ottoman Turks, in Istanbul, Turkey, May 30, 2015.  Murad Sezer / Reuters

Imagine a country in which the ruling party—having won three consecutive national elections over the past decade-plus—wins its fourth in a row, beating the second-place party by over fifteen percentage points, and yet nearly every outside observer declares the result to be a disastrous loss for that party. This is the situation in which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) now finds itself following Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Prime Minister turned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still ensconced in his thousand-room palace, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will remain at his post, and the AKP is going to continue dominating the government as either a minority ruling party or as the lead party in an extremely lopsided coalition. Wherever you look, though, the AKP’s political obituary is being written.

Boys sit in front of a polling station during the parliamentary election in Diyarbakir, Turkey, June 7, 2015. Osman

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