Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s parliamentary elections were a victory for democracy and national unity. “We will raise the democratic, secular republic to a higher level,” said Mr. Erdogan. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party won some forty-seven percent of the vote, giving it about three-hundred-forty of the parliament’s five-hundred-fifty seats.
One of the first tasks faced by Prime Minister Erdogan and the new parliament is the election of Turkey’s president. Prime Minister Erdogan must nominate a candidate and the parliament must approve the nominee by a two-thirds vote or submit to new parliamentary elections. The recent elections were called when opposition parties in parliament blocked Mr. Erdogan’s first presidential nominee, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack congratulated the Turkish people “on holding a free and fair election”:
“We’ll see what the results of that election yield. I would point out that we have had a very good working relationship with Prime Minister Erdogan and his government and that we have faith in Turkey’s secular democracy, and the fact that Turkey will move forward on the basis of their own constitution and their laws.”
Since the election, Prime Minister Erdogan has reached out to political opponents. “Whoever you have voted for,” said Mr. Erdogan, “we respect your choices. We regard your differences as part of our pluralist democracy.”
In a written statement, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said, “Turkey’s voters have once again demonstrated their confidence in democracy and the rule of law.” The United States looks “forward to working with the new government once it is formed and with all members of the new parliament on issues of concern to both our countries.”