AKP Retains Majority in Turkish Elections

Turkey has had elections, and the ruling AKP has retained a majority in parliament. The next major issue appears to be constitutional reform.

Via the BBC:  Turkey ruling party wins election with reduced majority

Near-complete results from Turkey’s election show the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a third term.

With 99% of ballots counted the AKP had 50% of the vote, which local media said translated to 326 seats in parliament.

The exact numbers are relevant because of the issue of constitutional reform:

But that would be 41 seats short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the country’s constitution unilaterally.

In his victory speech, Mr Erdogan said the AKP would “discuss the new constitution with opposition parties”.


Because the MHP passed the 10% threshold for a party to enter parliament, the AKP was denied the two-thirds “super majority” and will not be able to push through a new constitution without putting it to a referendum, our correspondent adds.

And the AKP’s failure to win at least 330 seats means it will not even be able to put amendments to the public without consulting the opposition. The party won 341 seats in 2007.

The current constitution (from 1982) was imposed by the military after a coup, and provides substantial powers to the military and other unelected portions of the Turkish state.   The question of the exact nature of change is a matter of debate.  I expect, and the video below does touch on this, that there will be some rhetoric concerning the question of whether the AKP is seeking to create an “Islamic state” or not, or whether Erdogan has eyes on a powerful presidency that he would like to occupy.  On the other hand, supporters of reform will argue that they are seeking a more democratic constitution that protects individual rights better than that military-written constitution does.  There are no formal proposals in the works at the moment, nor, in fact, are there any guarantees that reform will take place.  The current configuration of the parliament will mean that any changes will face substantial negotiations.

Regardless of anything else, this should help remind those of us who have not been paying attention, that Turkey represents a functional democracy in a Muslim country and that the AKP is a moderate Islamic party.   I would also note that the AKP is the party most interested of the major parties in Turkey in joining the EU and pursing a free trade agenda.

For further reading:

For viewing:

al Jareeza has an overview of the Turkish situation going into the election:

FILED UNDER: Asia, Europe, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    But I’ve been told that democracy and Islam are anathemas…

  2. Southern Hoosier says:

    The current constitution (from 1982) was imposed by the military after a coup, and provides substantial powers to the military and other unelected portions of the Turkish state

    Democracy imposed by the military with other unelected portions, yeah that sounds like a democracy to me.

    The Turkish government’s changes to the current Ministry for Women and Family is a step backward in its struggle to combat gender inequality and violence against women, Human Rights Watch said today

    Women hold just 9 percent of seats in the national parliament, and only 27 of the country’s nearly 3,000 mayors are women.

    I guess women’s rights aren’t necessary for a democracy.

    In a study released in early April, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, reported 57 journalists were in prison in Turkey, mostly on the basis of the country’s anti-terrorism laws.

    With 11 more Turkish journalists also facing charges, the total number soon could double the records of Iran and China, each of which reportedly held 34 journalists in prison in December last year. Indeed, Mijatovic estimated another 700 to 1000 proceedings against journalists are ongoing.

    And a free press isn’t necessary either, right?

    The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) announced its 2010 recommendations to Congress, the White House, and the State Department, which included keeping Turkey on its “Watch List” as one of the most serious offenders of freedom of religion towards non-Muslim communities.

    And who really cares about religious freedom?

    Does freedom and human rights really matter, just as long as they get out the vote?