Turkish AK Party's electoral win unites Palestinian rivals
By Mustafa Haboosh, Monday, March 31, 2014
GAZA CITY – Despite their political differences, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Monday congratulated Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his AK Party's electoral victory.
"We [Fatah] respect the will of the people and the results of the ballot box," Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmi told Anadolu Agency.
He noted Turkey's support for the Palestinian people and for Palestine's recent bid for statehood at the United Nations.
"We wish Turkey further progress and stability," Qawasmi added.
Unofficial results of Turkey's local elections show Erdogan's AK Party winning the majority of local council seats.
According to preliminary results, the AK Party garnered 47 percent of the vote, placing it well ahead of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which only won 27 percent.
With over 60 percent of the votes counted nationwide, the CHP stands at 27 percent; the conservative National Movement Party at 14 percent; and the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party at 3 percent.
Speaking to cheering supporters at AK Party headquarters in capital Ankara, Erdogan hailed the "great" electoral victory.
The election results are likely to set the tone for a busy polling schedule in Turkey, which will choose a new president in August before holding a general election in July of next year.
Meanwhile, Hamas – which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 – also congratulated Erdogan on his party's solid electoral win.
"We congratulate Turkey on its democratic success; we hope this election will encourage more development and progress in Turkey," Gaza government spokesman Ihab al-Ghusain told AA.
He went on to voice hope that the election results would encourage Turkey to extend further support to "persecuted peoples" and the Palestinian cause.
"Turkey has always adopted stances supportive of the Palestinian cause," al-Ghusain said. "And we believe these poll results will serve to further bolster the Turkish government's support for the Palestinian cause."
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri attributed the AK Party's electoral victory to its "great efforts" at the local level and its admirable positions vis-à-vis the Islamic nation in general and the Palestinian cause in particular.
"We're confident that this victory will be used to serve Turkey's best interests," Abu Zuhri told AA. "It will also be used to boost Turkey's influence at both the regional and international levels."
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