ANKARA, March 30 Initial results in Turkey's
local elections suggested a strong showing for Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party on Sunday, an outcome likely to
bolster his authority in battling "traitors" within the state he
accuses of seeking to topple him.
With around half of the votes counted, results broadcast on
Turkish television put Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party ahead
with 44-46 percent of the vote. The main opposition CHP, the
party of the modern secular republic's founder Mustafa Kemal
Ataturk, captured around 23-28 percent.
The nationwide elections are widely being seen in Turkey as
a referendum on Erdogan's 11-year rule, a test of his support as
he battles corruption allegations and security leaks he has cast
as a "dirty campaign" of espionage by his political enemies.
Erdogan said the election results would reaffirm his
legitimacy after a turbulent election campaign which has seen
his government tighten its grip on the courts, purge thousands
of police, and block access to Twitter and YouTube
as it tried to stem the flow of allegations.
(Writing by Nick Tattersall)