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Turkish election ushers in uncertainty as Erdogan’s party loses majority

Despite ambitions to expand his power in through Turkey's parliamentary elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP Party failed to hold onto its majority. While Turkey's deputy prime minister said the AKP will try to form a coalition government, all of the other parties have said they will not go along. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Now a political earthquake in Turkey.

    The man who has dominated that country's politics for more than a decade, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was counting on his party securing enough votes in Sunday's election to help pave the way for an expansion of his powers. Instead, an unlikely coalition helped lead a stunning rebuke to that leader's ambitions.

    The headlines at Turkish newsstands this morning said it all, "Downfall," next to a photo of Erdogan.

    And across the country, some said it's about time for a change.

    FAITH AKER (through interpreter): I believe this is a good result for democracy. I am in favor of a colorful, multicultural parliament in Turkey and anywhere in world.

    GULTEN SOZER (through interpreter): The votes were distributed equally. So people can express themselves as they want. I think the process went democratically.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Erdogan has not shown up in public since he cast his own ballot yesterday. But, as the ballots were counted, it became clear his Islamic-rooted AKP party had failed to hold its majority in parliament, much less expand it to give him more power.

    Outside AKP headquarters last night, party leaders put on a brave face.

    AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime Minister, Turkey (through interpreter): The AKP is the winner and finished first in this election. There is no doubt about that. Nobody should make a victory out of an election loss.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Nevertheless, that's exactly what supporters of the rival HDP were doing. Many secular Turks, environmentalists and women joined the pro-Kurdish party to help it win 13 percent of the vote.

    SELAHATTIN DEMIRTAS, Leader, HDP (through interpreter): This is a joint victory of all the oppressed people, Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Caucasians, Armenians and Bosniaks, of all ethnic identities who live in this country. It is the joint victory of all beliefs, all of the discriminated that want to live free with their beliefs.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Still, Turkey's deputy prime minister said today the AKP will try to form a coalition government.

    NUMAN KURTULMUS, Deputy Prime Minister, Turkey (through interpreter): I believe our prime minister will be able to form the government within the allotted time that will satisfy everyone.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In turn, all the other parties said they wouldn't join in a coalition with AKP. That opened the prospect of weeks of turmoil in a crucial U.S. ally in the region. And it was all being closely watched in Washington.

  • JEFF RATHKE, State Department Spokesman:

    Turkey is a NATO ally. The United States has a strong relationship with Turkey. And we're going to continue working closely with Turkey and with the next government that is formed.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. wants that next government, whenever it is formed, to continue as a key part of the coalition working to fight the Islamic State in Syria.

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