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5/23/15

Turkey: Upcoming Elections - Dark Clouds Over Turkey

With two weeks to go before a crucial parliamentary election in Turkey, tensions are rising and some critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fear a new crackdown is starting to ensure that his Justice and Development Party wins.

That kind of brute manipulation of the political process would be a serious mistake, further weakening the country’s battered democracy and tainting whatever victory might emerge.

After more than a decade of amassing power as Turkey’s leader, Mr. Erdogan could be on the verge of realizing his dream of changing the Constitution to make the president, rather than the prime minister, the leading political authority. His party, known as A.K.P., would have to win 330 seats in Parliament on June 7 — a three-fifths majority — to take a proposed constitutional change to a referendum.

The party won only 326 seats in the last election in 2011, and on Friday Reuters reported that the most recent poll by the research firm Konda suggests that support for A.K.P. has declined. 

Mr. Erdogan has a long history of intimidating and co-opting the Turkish media, but new alarms were set off this week when criminal complaints were filed against editors of the Hurriyet Daily News and its website over a headline Mr. Erdogan had objected to.

Read more: Dark Clouds Over Turkey - NYTimes.com

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