Istanbul ( AsiaNews) - With more than 60% of votes counted, the AKP party of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan Tayyep is leading in the elections held yesterday with 47% , leaving 27% to the other major opposition party, the CHP , which is currently undermining the power of Erdogan in Ankara.
Almost certain of victory, speaking from the balcony of the party headquarters in Ankara, Erdogan thanked the voters who "have stood up for the ideals of Turkey .. and for your prime minister," and he also denounced the " traitors" promising to pursue them and "make them pay".
Since the Gezi Park protests last year, Erdogan and his government have been the focus of a series of allegations of corruption and the local elections had become a litmus test for the popularity of the prime minister, who was discredited along with his son - in corruption scandals.
To stop always new revelations from leaking out, Erdogan blocked social networks and accused the "lair" of orchestrating the allegations. The "lair" refers to the network of friendships linking judges and the police which has at its center the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who has moved to the U.S. in exile.
Gulen has denied being involved
in the campaign against the prime minister, but some of his movement (Hizmet,
service) now fear reprisals.
The AKP's good performance - the party had hoped to maintain at least the 38.8% of the 2009 elections - strengthens Erdogan's hopes of becoming president of Turkey in the next election in May, in the first ever popular ballot for head of state. Erdogan himself changed the constitutional procedures to allow for the president's direct election.