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Turkish PM Claims Victory in Parliamentary Election


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is claiming victory for his Islamist-rooted ruling party in Sunday's parliamentary election.

With nearly all ballots counted, Turkish media say the Justice and Development Party is expected to finish with 47 percent of the vote.

The main secular opposition Republican People's Party is expected to finish far behind with 21 percent and the far right Nationalist Action Party will end up with 14 percent.

Prime Minister Erdogan said he will continue with economic and democratic reforms needed for possible membership in the European Union. He has also said Turkey could cross into Iraq to strike at separatist Kurdish rebels who are hiding out there.

The ruling Justice and Development party grew out of a defunct Islamist party. Many Turks fear the party has a hidden Islamic agenda to chip away at Turkey's constitutionally-mandated secularism.

Mr. Erdogan denies the charge.

Mr. Erdogan called the parliamentary election four months early when secularist lawmakers stopped him from appointing fellow conservative and ex-Islamist Abdullah Gul president. Gul is currently foreign minister.
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