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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, Ankara, April 27, 2019 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP Images).

How Far Will Erdogan and the AKP Go to Hold Onto Power in Turkey?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ISTANBUL—After 17 years in power, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing Justice and Development Party, the AKP, face perhaps their toughest test yet. Voters in Istanbul will head to the polls again on June 23 to elect a mayor for the second time in three months, after Turkey’s Supreme Election Council controversially canceled the results of the March vote, which the opposition narrowly won. The Supreme Election Council cited irregularities, backing a complaint brought by Erdogan and his party. All 11 of the board’s members were appointed under Erdogan’s government.

Just as the opposition’s surprising win in Istanbul had raised new questions about how popular Erdogan and his party really are, the move to annul that victory and run the election again is the latest sign of democracy’s decline under Erdogan’s watch. The entire episode also casts a shadow over Turkey’s relations with both the European Union and the United States, while threatening to further destabilize an already dangerously rocky economy. ...

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