‘Victory is mine’ was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s message after his AK Party’s strong showing in Sunday’s local polls.
But in the aftermath, his interpretation is being challenged on several fronts.
The vote had been seen as a referendum on his rule after corruption allegations, and the main opposition CHP party lead by Kemal Kilicdaroglu had expected to fare better.
He is now crying ‘fraud’ and protesters are calling for a recount in Ankara which his party lost to the AKP by less than one percent.
The campaign had been conducted amid the government’s tightening of its grip on the courts, a purge of thousands of police officers and the blocking of Twitter in Erdogan’s attempt to stem the graft scandal.
Bekir Agirdir of Konda Research and Consultancy said Erdogan was living under a misconception:
“The election result does not mean that corruption is being ignored or tolerated. Corruption is about law and the polls are about politics. But it seems that Mr Erdogan and the AKP Party will commit this mistake and interpret these results as if all the allegations have been cleaned away,” he said.
Erdogan certainly has a strong conservative base as the election result, showing the AKP won 46 percent to the opposition’s 28 percent, cannot be denied.
But the protest rallies especially against his continued ban on Twitter despite a Turkish court ruling are likely to continue.