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Cablegate: Turkey: Ruling Akp Scores Solid Victory In

VZCZCXRO9551
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #1875/01 2040811
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230811Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3088
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU//TCH//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001875

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: RULING AKP SCORES SOLID VICTORY IN
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

REF: ANKARA 1859 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) Summary. Unofficial results indicate that Turkey's
ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a
significant victory in July 22 parliamentary elections,
returning to power with 46.6% of the vote, up from 34% in the
2002 election. Two other parties crossed the ten percent
election threshold, along with 27 independent candidates,
creating a fractious if more representative congress.
Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) pulled in 20.8% of
the vote, a slight increase over its 2002 share of 19%.
National Movement Party (MHP), which failed to cross the ten
percent election threshold in 2002, captured 14.4% of the
vote. AKP appears set to form another single-party
government, with around 340 of parliament's 550 seats, but
returns with a reduced majority and short of the 367 seats
needed to elect the next president or amend Turkey's
military-drafted constitution. CHP is expected to secure
approximately 112 seats and MHP around 71 seats.
Commentators view the results as the opposition's failure as
much as AKP's success.

2. (U) Summary cont'd. Turkey's Supreme Election Board (SEB)
Chairman stated the elections were generally free of
irregularities, with official results expected within a week,
barring major challenges. The new parliament will convene
five days after final results are announced; election of a
Speaker, formation of a new government and election of
Turkey's next president will top the agenda. End Summary.

3. (U) Turnout was high (84%) as Turks interrupted their
summer holidays to return to vote in their neighborhoods in
what many regard as a pivotal general election (reftels).
AKP increased its share of the vote from 34% in the 2002
elections to 46.6%, the first time in 50 years voters have
returned a governing party with an improved showing. CHP,
with 20.8% of the vote, lost seats to AKP and MHP in several
of its strongholds, such as Izmir, Antalya, Mersin and Adana.
MHP's nationalist campaign attracted 14.4%, reportedly an
85% increase over 2002 results. Independent candidates,
including former (Motherland/ANAP) Prime Minister Mesut
Yilmaz, Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Muhsin Yazicioglu,
Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) Chairman Ufuk Uras and at
least 23 linked to the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party
(DTP), will enter parliament with AKP, CHP and MHP deputies.

Democrat Party Loses Its Head
-----------------------------
4. (SBU) Democrat Party (DP) leader Mehmet Agar resigned as
chairman early in the evening, after DP stalled at under 6%
of the vote. DP Vice Chair (and former ambassador to the US)
Nuzhet Kandemir also resigned. The party, initially billed
as a merger of the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland
Party (Anavatan), held promise as a center-right alternative
to AKP but stumbled badly when the merger collapsed. Agar's
resignation opens the field for a leadership race, and
solidifies AKP's claim as the center-right's representative.

A Whole New Ball-Game
---------------------
5. (U) The hotly-contested election produced some notable
changes from the 2002 general election. Noting that Turkey's
leftist parties, including CHP, won only one-fifth of votes
nationwide, commentators stated AKP had overtaken CHP - the
party founded by Kemal Ataturk - as the party that represents
Turkey. AKP improved its performance in Turkey's larger
cities, including CHP-stronghold Izmir where AKP increased
its share of the vote from 17% in 2002 to 30% in 2007. AKP
and CHP are projected to hold ten Izmir seats each, with four
seats captured by MHP. AKP reportedly more than doubled its
votes in Turkey's southeast region. DTP-affiliated
independents pulled in 47.5% of votes in Diyarbakir, with AKP
a close second with 41.9%. Overall, DTP votes dropped from
6% in 2002 (as DEHAP) to 4% in 2007, with many of those votes
moving to AKP. Nationalist MHP succeeded in luring more
votes from CHP than from AKP to sail over the ten percent
threshold.

Next Steps
----------
6. (U) The new parliament will convene five days after the
Supreme Election Board announces official results, expected
by July 29. MPs will take their oath and begin the process

ANKARA 00001875 002 OF 002


of electing a Speaker and Bureau of Assembly, which must be
completed within 10 days of convening. The eldest deputy,
CHP's Sukru Elekdag will serve as temporary Speaker in the
interim. President Sezer is expected to appoint a prime
minister soon after parliament convenes, possibly by August 3
or 6; past practice has been to pass the mandate to the
leader of the strongest party. A new government must be
formed and approved within 45 days or the parliament may be
dissolved, forcing another round of elections. Once
parliamentary bodies are organized and a new government is in
place, deputies' top issue will be the controversial process
of electing Turkey's next president, however, there is no
prescribed start date for the 30-day process. MHP and
independent MPs may hold the key to AKP assembling the 367
deputies needed for a quorum and to elect a president in
initial voting, suggesting that the new government will still
need to seek compromise despite its solid election victory.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

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