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Turkey polls open

Sunday, November 01, 2015 - 00:46

Turkey begins voting in the country's second parliamentary in months in the face of worsening security and economic concerns. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Turks began voting on Sunday amid worsening security and economic worries, in a snap parliamentary election that could profoundly affect the divided country's trajectory and that of President Tayyip Erdogan. This is the second parliamentary poll in five months, after the ruling AK Party founded by Erdogan failed to retain its single-party majority in June. Since then, a ceasefire with Kurdish militants has collapsed into bloodshed, the Syria crisis has worsened, and NATO-member Turkey has been hit by two Islamic State-linked suicide bomb attacks, killing more than 130. There has been little sign of the flags, posters and campaign buses that thronged the streets in the build-up to June's vote, but Erdogan has framed this sombre re-run as a pivotal opportunity for Turkey to return to single-party AKP rule after months of political uncertainty. Erdogan's critics say the vote, prompted by the AKP's inability to find a junior coalition partner after the June result, represents a gamble by the combative leader to win back enough support for the party so it can eventually change the constitution and give him greater presidential powers. Many polls suggest that while support for the centre-right, Islamist-rooted party may have inched up, the outcome is unlikely to be dramatically different to June, when it took 40.9 percent of the vote. Whatever the outcome, deep polarisation in Turkey - between pious conservatives who champion Erdogan as a hero of the working class, and Western-facing secularists suspicious of his authoritarianism and Islamist ideals - is likely to remain.

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Turkey polls open

Sunday, November 01, 2015 - 00:46