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Noah Feldman

Are Dark Days Ahead for Turkey?

Erdogan's party lost its majority, but what he does next matters more.
Looking toward the future.

Looking toward the future.

Photographer: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

So it turns out voters don’t like it when you build a $600 million presidential palace. The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lost its majority in Sunday's Turkish elections for the first time in 12 years. A new pro-Kurdish opposition party, the Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, crossed the 10 percent threshold necessary to get into parliament.

But it’s too soon for Erdogan’s enemies to start celebrating his downfall -- or for democracy lovers anywhere to be entirely sanguine at this result. The AKP still won a plurality of 41 percent, much more than the next largest party, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, which got roughly a quarter of the votes. The AKP may well be able to form a coalition government or govern as a minority party. Erdogan might alternatively call new elections.