Understanding the Turkish election result

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By our local correspondent
Now that the dust has settled we can begin to evaluate the significance of the Turkish elections which may have come as a surprise to outside observers. The first thing to note was the extremely high turnout – more than 86% voted in these elections for town mayors, councils and district representatives, far higher than in most countries for such local contests. The first reason for this record level of participation was the rising level of political tension in Turkey that was sparked off by the brutal government treatment of last summer’s environmental protests in and around Istanbul’s Gezi Park, protests that rapidly spread across the country (for more details see our articles Talking Turkey and Turkish Spring or Turkish Geyser). This massive protest movement and the government’s violent reaction to it showed the increasingly authoritarian face of the ruling party and its leader, Tayip Erdogan.

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