ANKARA, 7 June (OEN). The results of the Turkish elections of 7 June have put an end to the suspense that has dominated national politics in the past three months. For the first time in this republic's history a Kurdish party has succeeded to be elected to the legislature, with an impressive 15 percent of the seats available.
The breakthrough of the People's Democracy (HD) Party has radically changed the political landscape of Turkey, as it has come at the expense of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, which has been in power since 2002. AKP has regressed in the latest contest by nine percentage points, from 49.8 percent in the 2011 elections to 40.86 percent.
The other two main contenders, the Republican People's (CH) Party and Nationalist Movement (MH) Party have retained their electorate, with MHP making a gain of 27 seats over the previous general elections. CHP, the oldest party in the country, established by modern Turkey's founder, Murtafa Kemal Ataturk, has stagnated, in spite of an aggressive economic and welfare programme.
Of the 54.8 million qualified voters, 47.5 million cast their ballots (86.6 percent participation). AKP received 40.86 percent of the votes, CHP 24.9, MHP 16.29 and HDP 13.12 percent.
AKP remains the largest political formation, but the loss of parliamentary seats to the newcomer HDP steals its privilege of legislative majority.
The Turkish Grand General Assembly is composed of 550 deputies. Pending the final official results, due to be announced in 11 days, AKP will have 258 seats, CHP 132, and MHP and HDP 80 each.
HDP's performance is quite remarkable, considering that it won 6.1 million votes out of an estimated 9 million total Kurdish voters.
Kurds are the largest ethnic minority of Turkey, with 15 million people out of a total of 77 million Turkish citizens. Their past, under the Turkish republic formed in 1923, has been turbulent, as they have not been recognised as a minority by the Constitution. Their attempts to obtain civic rights, including the use of their own language, were violently oppressed, intermittently, in the 1930s and from the 1970s onwards.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).