Fast forward to this weekend: Turks have held up a collective finger at their President at the general election, levelling their own “one minute” to Erdogan.
Voters turned away from the ruling AK Party in their droves, sending a clear message to their leader.
AKP setback means end of presidential dreamWhile the ruling AK Party won the most seats in yesterday’s parliamentary elections, it fell short of the majority needed to rule without forming a coalition with other parties. President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party won 41 percent of the vote - 258 of 550 seats. This is a significant drop from the 49 percent majority the party won at the last general election in 2011.
The Turkish president, who until last year was Prime Minister and leader of the ruling AKP party, was hoping to amend the constitution to allow him to create an executive presidency, giving him unprecedented powers. Under the current constitution the Turkish president’s role is chiefly ceremonial.
As well as the results meaning that Erdogan will no longer have the support to change the constitution to allow an executive presidency, the results mark a turning point for the country. For the first time since it came to power in 2002, AKP will likely need to form a coalition government - quite a challenge for the socially conservative party.
Historic entry for pro-Kurdish partyNewcomer HDP - the Kurdish-rooted People’s Democratic Party - gained enough votes to break the 10 percent threshold, allowing them entry to parliament for the first time.
HDP’s gain was largely due to dissatisfaction with Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule and his failure to address the rights of Kurds, women and other minority groups. Other voters picked HDP as a strategic way of hampering Erdogan’s presidential ambitions.
The HDP has previously said they would be unlikely to form a government with the centre-right AKP, an assertion that might be tested in coming days as AKP seeks to create a government.
“Echoes of Gezi Park”Propertyturkey.com director Cameron Deggin says while the result is unexpected, it’s a positive one for the country. The property expert cites the Gezi Park protests two years ago, when protesters were vociferous in their opposition to what many felt was an increasingly authoritarian rule from Erdogan.
“The election result has echoes of Gezi Park,” Deggin says. “What Turkish people are saying here is very simple and in fact extremely positive: ‘get on with the economy and prosperity but if you try to touch our Western liberties and meddle with our core belief systems, we will teach you a lesson’.”
Optimism on the horizon for post-election economyAnalysts have stated that AKP’s loss of a supermajority is the best scenario for Turkey’s financial markets, as AKP will be more likely to focus on boosting the economy that has stalled over the past year after a decade of rapid growth. Deggin agrees. “To win back favour, AKP will be working hard to increase economic conditions for all Turks.”
Pre-election uncertainty meant the Lira dropped significantly, but now the results are decided it should rally, he says. “We should see the Lira strengthen against the Euro, GBP and USD within the next three months, possibly as much as 15 percent.
Investment and property surgeDespite a dip in investment in the last year, demand in the investment and development is still “visibly and demonstrably booming”.
“All you need to do is take a tour of Istanbul and you will see the rate of construction.”
The fact that liquidity is high, with developers immediately selling their projects, is a very encouraging sign, Deggin says.
The property expert is also optimistic about the future of property investment, and is anticipating “another major real estate boom,” this time fuelled not only by domestic demand, but topped up by foreign demand, particularly in the Istanbul real estate market.
Deggin says talking to potential investors - particularly larger investors - before the election demonstrated that many have been “holding fire”, waiting for election outcomes. Now that they are decided there should be a spike in sales, he says.
“Investors want to see the stability and continued growth that they’ve seen over the last 10 years under AKP government. AKP is still at the reigns with a 41 percent majority and I’m anticipating a huge surge of post-election investment.”
“At the end of the day, despite the frictions and internal factors, the truth is from a foreign investor perspective Turkey has been stable for a very long time.”
Deggin warns that the strengthening Lira will make properties in Turkey more expensive to overseas buyers, so buying now will not only save money, but net investors more capital growth over the mid term.
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