Regular readers of this column know that I have never questioned the political skills of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. What he lacks in scruples at times, he tends to make up for in sheer guile and political ability. Erdogan’s cynical, high-risk campaign strategy was rewarded in Turkey’s November 1 parliamentary elections, when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a surprising absolute majority.
By skill, guile, and unscrupulousness, the Turkish President has defied the odds and won another mandate.Dr. John C. Hulsman
It all worked to perfection, as Erdogan ran rings around his less able opponents. The AKP secured 49% of the vote on November 1, up from 41% in the recent, inconclusive June elections. In terms of seats, this left the party with a comfortable majority, holding 317 of 550 seats. However, the result left the AKP just short of possessing the political power to amend the constitution on its own, allowing Erdogan to fashion a new Turkish political system with a strong presidency (with himself at the helm) at its core, as he so desperately wishes to do. But this ultimate political goal is now certainly within sight.