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Turkey Elections: Erdogan Victory Risks Making Country an Authoritarian State Sliding Into Syrian Mire

Turks vote on Sunday to choose a new parliament amid fears that Turkey is turning into an authoritarian one-party state and political, ethnic and religious polarisation is so great that the country is becoming permanently unstable.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002, need to elect just 18 more MPs to win back the majority in parliament that they lost in the last election on 7 June. If they succeed, then Mr Erdogan will be able to expand his already extensive power over the state, security forces, media and judiciary.

he election outcome is too finely balanced to predict, according to the latest opinion polls, which show that as many as 50 million Turks are intending to vote. The AKP is expected to slightly increase its share of the votes to 42 to 43 per cent and the opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) vote is forecast to rise to 26 to 28 per cent. The most important development of the last election was the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) getting 13 per cent – well above the crucial 10 per cent level that a party must reach to get representation in parliament.

The HDP’s success deprived the AKP of its majority and precipitated a five-month-long crisis in which this election is the latest, but probably not the last, episode. The AKP is unlikely to win back Kurdish support and is looking to take votes from the floundering right-wing anti-Kurdish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to get at least 276 seats in the 550-seat parliament.