Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described his Justice and Development (AK) Party’s success in Sunday's general election as a “victory day for democracy”.
“This victory is not ours but that of our nation and our citizens,” Davutoglu said in a speech in his hometown of Konya hours after preliminary results showed the AK Party had regained its parliamentary majority.
Later, he returned to capital Ankara to give a victory address outside the party’s headquarters.
“Do not be provoked,” he told supporters. “Today, you will greet your neighbors and you will embrace your brothers more than ever. You will not be provoked.”
In remarks aimed at the supporters of rival parties, he said they should not feel they had lost the election. “There is no loser today,” the premier, who is also the AK Party chairman, said. “The only winner is our nation, our republic, our democracy.”
With 99.58 percent of votes counted, the AK Party led with 49.41 percent votes (316 seats), followed by the Republican People's Party (CHP) on 25.38 percent (134 seats).
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) got 11.93 percent votes (41 seats) while the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) secured 10.7 percent (59 seats).
The vote had been called following June's inconclusive general election that saw no party win a majority and coalition talks failed to produce an administration.
Following the results, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told journalists at his party’s office in Ankara he did not consider the night a success, despite a slight increase in the party’s share of votes and deputies.
“The measure of success is coming to power,” he said.
Asked if he was considering resigning, Kilicdaroglu did not give a clear answer but said party rules would be followed.
MHP Chairman Devlet Bahceli -- who saw his party’s share of the vote fall by more than 4 percent and its number of deputies nearly halved -- seemed to rule out quitting as leader.
“All our party’s staff remain on duty with patience, devotion and a convinced heart,” he said in a statement released late Sunday.
“With a steely will, we will keep on defending the rights and historic interests of Turkey without any loss in our love for the motherland and the nation or any dissolution in our ranks,” he said.
The HDP’s joint leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag welcomed the results, despite a fall in the party’s vote since June.
Speaking at a news conference, Demirtas said: “Yes we lost one million votes. Yes, there was a decrease in voter numbers compared to June 7.”
However, he went on to thank all voters “regardless of what party they voted for” and said his party would maintain its support for constitutional, liberal and democratic reforms and peace.
“As Turkey's third biggest party, we will work with heart and soul,” Demirtas said.
Four parties pass electoral threshold
Supreme Election Board (YSK) Chairman Sadi Guven confirmed that four political parties exceeded the 10 percent electoral threshold, adding that final results would be released 11 to 12 days later.
“According to unofficial results, the parties that exceeded the electoral threshold are the AK Party, the CHP, the MHP and the HDP,” he said at a news conference.
On Sunday evening the YSK’s results website went down, a problem Guven blamed on difficulties uploading results from the board’s IT system, known as SECSIS.
“The citizen portal of SECSIS has been closed due to scanning poll result reports and transmitting them into the system,” he said.
The system’s data flow had been followed by monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and political parties.
Turnout in Sunday’s poll was 85.46 percent as 48.2 million Turks cast their votes to elect 550 deputies to the Grand National Assembly.