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Turkey: Is The Divided Nation a Step Away From Erdogan Dictatorship?

If he fails to secure the coveted supermajority in parliament will Turkey’s authoritarian president go outside the law?

Turkey goes to the polls on Sunday in a parliamentary election that threatens to increase polarisation in a country that is already deeply divided.

At stake is the extent to which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2002, can establish one-party rule and near monopoly of political power.

The election is still in the balance, but inside Turkey the campaign has widened the fault lines between Kurds and Turks, secular and Islamic, Sunni majority and Alevi minority. Abroad, the results may determine the degree to which Turkey becomes further embroiled in the civil war in Syria and Iraq.

Many people have put decisions on hold until they know the outcome of the election. Ersin Umut Guler, an actor and theatre director, is waiting to see if it will reduce political tensions, allowing him to bring back the body of his brother Aziz to Turkey from northern Syria where he was killed fighting Isis on 21 September when he stepped on a mine.

The Turkish authorities refused to allow Aziz’s remains to be brought across the Syrian-Turkish border because it denounces the Kurdish opponents of Isis in Syria as “terrorists” linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) against whom it has been fighting a guerrilla war since 1984.

 

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