Turkey to the polls

Turkey holds snap parliamentary elections on Sunday amid worsening security and economic worries, that could profoundly impact the divided country’s trajectory and that of President Tayyip Erdogan. Polls that could end more than a decade of single-party rule by the Justice and Development party (AKP).

Voting stations around the country opened on Sunday morning. This is the second parliamentary poll in five months, after the ruling AK Party founded by Erdogan failed to retain its single-party majority in June. Since then, a ceasefire with Kurdish militants has collapsed into bloodshed, the Syria crisis has worsened, and NATO-member Turkey has been hit by two Islamic State-linked suicide bomb attacks, killing more than 130.

There has been little sign of the flags, posters and campaign buses that thronged the streets in the build-up to June’s vote, but Erdogan has framed this sombre re-run as a pivotal opportunity for Turkey to return to single-party AKP rule after months of political uncertainty, writes Reuters.

“This election will be for continuity of stability and trust,” he said after praying at a new Istanbul mosque on Saturday. He vowed to respect the result.

Erdogan’s critics say the vote is a gamble by the combative leader to win back enough support for the party so it can eventually change the constitution and give him even greater presidential powers.

Many polls suggest that while support for the center-right, Islamist-rooted party may have inched up, the outcome is unlikely to be dramatically different to June, when it took 40.9 per cent of the vote.

However, one survey released on Thursday suggested there had been a late surge in support for the AKP and that it could take as much as 47.2 per cent, comfortably enough to secure more than half of the 550-seat, writes Rueters.