PM Threatens Non-Islamists
"Tomorrow there may be those who have to flee. But we
will go into their caves. They will pay the price."
Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan
Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister appeared to have scored a decisive victory in local elections seen as a referendum on his rule over an increasingly divided country, setting the stage for a possible run for president.
Exit polls showed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, winning a comfortable plurality of votes nationally, but the margin of victory and his party's control of major cities was unclear early Monday.
Two polls showed the party registering 46% of the vote with 80% of the ballots counted, with the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, securing 28%.
The AKP appeared to have held Istanbul but the final results in Ankara were still unclear at midnight reports the Wall Street Journal.
Erdogan has sought to quash the sprawling graft probe by overhauling the judiciary, purging thousands of police officials he deems nettlesome and blocking social-networking websites Twitter and YouTube, where most of the alleged leaks first appeared.
"Tomorrow there may be those who have to flee. But we will go into their caves. They will pay the price," Erdogan said.
As Turks voted Sunday, Turkey's increasingly polarized politics also played out across Istanbul's neighborhoods, with residents citing widely varying expectations from the polls.
"I'm on AK Party's side, I have a lot of love for Recep Tayyip Erdogan: he's our spiritual father. The allegations against him are complete lies," said Dilan Kizmaz, a 22-year-old in the conservative district of Fatih, voting for the second time in her life.
|Initial Turkish Results|
AKP (Islamist) - Yellow
CHP (Secular Opposition) - Red
MHP (Far right, Nationalist) - Maroon
BDP (Kurdish) - Blue