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Polarization in Turkey Set to Accelerate Under “Teflon Tayyip”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s apparent landslide victory in Turkey’s recent local elections is giving him a boost as he seeks his ultimate political goal – the establishment of a strong presidential system of government, analysts say. But amid allegations of government corruption, abuse of power and election fraud, will social unity be left curbside in the process?

This August, Turks will directly elect their president for the first time. To win, the prime minister, widely expected to run, would need 50 percent of the votes from Turkey’s roughly 50 million registered voters, plus one vote.

Given the strong win for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the March 31 local elections, observers believe that the prime minister will be disinclined to rethink controversial policies or practices ahead of the presidential campaign. Preliminary counts of the local voting give the AKP about 47 percent of the vote, although final results are not expected until later this month.

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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.

Polarization in Turkey Set to Accelerate Under “Teflon Tayyip”

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