Turkey's AKP heads back toward single party rule

The vote was Turkey's 2nd in five months after AKP lost the majority it had enjoyed since 2002.

Supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) cheer and wave the Turkish national flag and the party's flag as they wait for the arrival of Turkey's Prime Minister and Justice and Development (AK) party leader Ahmet Davutoglu to address an election rally in Ankara, on 31 October 2015. Picture: AFP

ANKARA - Turkey's AK Party appeared to be closing in on its goal of recovering a single-party majority and governing alone, partial general election results showed on Sunday, in what would be a major turnaround for embattled President Tayyip Erdogan.

The vote was Turkey's second in five months, after the AKP in June lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002. Erdogan had presented it as a chance to restore stability at a time of tension over Kurdish insurrection and two bombings while critics fear a drift to authoritarianism under the president.

With around two thirds of the votes counted, the AKP was on 52 percent, according to state-run broadcaster TRT, higher than many party officials had expected. The main opposition CHP was at 22.5 percent.

Two senior AKP officials told Reuters they expected to be able to form a single-party government again, with one of them forecasting a final share of around 45-46 percent of the vote.

"If this trend continues, it is likely that we will have a single-party government," the second official said.

Since June, a ceasefire with Kurdish militants has collapsed, the war in neighbouring Syria has worsened and Turkey - a NATO member state - has been buffeted by two Islamic State-linked suicide bomb attacks that killed more than 130 people.

Investors and Western allies hope the vote will help restore stability as well as confidence in an $800 billion economy, allowing Ankara to play a more effective role in stemming a flood of refugees from neighbouring wars via Turkey into Europe and helping in the battle against Islamic State militants.

TRT's partial results said the nationalist MHP opposition stood at 11.4 percent, with support for the pro-Kurdish HDP dropping to 10.5 percent, perilously close to the 10 percent margin needed to enter parliament.

The results could still change significantly, with counting not yet completed in the country's largest cities.