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Cablegate: Turkey's Elections: Akp Emerges with Mandate;

VZCZCXRO9818
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHAK #1876 2041000
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 231000Z JUL 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3090
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001876

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S ELECTIONS: AKP EMERGES WITH MANDATE;
FIERCE CHALLENGES AHEAD

REF: ANKARA 1859

Classified By: AMBASSADOR ROSS WILSON FOR REASONS 1.4(b),(d)

1. (C) Voters across Turkey handed PM Erdogan and the ruling
Justice and Development Party (AKP) a resounding vote of
confidence in July 22 parliamentary elections (reftel).
Turks rewarded AKP for five years of effective governance,
strong economic growth and relative political stability. FM
Gul's derailed presidential election also generated "victim"
votes for the party. With 46% of the vote, AKP now has a
mandate to pursue its economic development and modernization
policies, EU membership and political reform for another
term. High on the domestic agenda are controversial
proposals to rebalance power sharing between the president
and prime minister and revise, if not rewrite, Turkey's 1982
constitution, Erdogan was magnanimous in an acceptance
speech that hit all the right notes: unity, democracy,
stability. His first real test will be choosing a
presidential candidate who can bridge the divide between a
shattered left and jubilant AKP supporters.

2. (C) Turkey's elections were a clear showing of the
strength and increasing maturity of the Republic's democracy.
The lively campaign, followed by free, open and very well
organized voting attest to Turks' commitment to the
democratic process. The results reflected the opposition's
failure to inspire, motivate and effectively organize a
campaign. They were a setback for the Republican People's
Party (CHP) and the forces that warned that the secular
Republic was in peril. Voters rejected such rhetoric. AKP
skillfully parlayed the tactics used to prevent Gul's
presidency into votes from Turks who objected to perceived
interference in the political process. Secular forces,
including the military, may be dissuaded by AKP's hefty win
from interfering again, although that cannot be ruled out.
Erdogan will need to use all his skill and charm to win their
support as he pursues a reform-filled agenda.

3. (C) The dust has yet to settle, however. How Erdogan uses
his new mandate will determine whether cooperation or
conflict will be the tone in the new parliament. Nationalist
Action Party (MHP) and pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party
(DTP) deputies make for a volatile mix, which an embittered
CHP could easily ignite. Erdogan will need to fully deploy
his political skills and pragmatic nature to keep Turkey on a
constructive track. He will likely be under intense pressure
to "reward" AKP supporters; the challenge will be to balance
that instinct against the need to build trust and support
among those still wary of AKP's Islamist leanings. Whether
Erdogan chooses a presidential candidate through consultation
with opposition leaders rather than pushing through an AKP
favorite will be a strong indicator of the course he intends
to pursue. Despite his victory, AKP does not have the seats
to forego cooperation, and will be forced to find allies
within parliament.

4. (C) The results present real challenges for the
opposition. Whether CHP and center-right parties get the
public's message and re-group into viable alternatives, with
new leaders and fresh ideas for Turkey's future, will play
out over the next months. If they can succeed, AKP may have
a tougher fight ahead.

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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