Hamas in Gaza congratulated Turkey's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) after sweeping to an unexpected victory in elections on Sunday, returning the country to a single-party rule in an outcome that will boost the power of President Tayyip Erdogan.
"We in Hamas consider that these results before it being a victory for Turkey, it is a victory to Palestine because we trust that Turkey places results in favor of the service of the Palestinian cause, Jerusalem cause and for the Palestinian people," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza city.
With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50 percent of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected.
The outcome could aggravate deep splits 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.
In June, the AKP lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002. Erdogan had presented Sunday's polls as a chance to restore stability at a time of tension over Kurdish insurrection and after two bombings, attributed to Islamic State, while critics fear a drift to authoritarianism under the president.
Erdogan, Turkey's most powerful leader in generations, resigned as prime minister last year and became Turkey's first directly elected president - with the aim of transforming it from a largely ceremonial position to a strong executive post.
The AKP still lacks a majority big enough to change the constitution. But being the sole party in power, Erdogan will be able to reassert his influence over government from the grandeur of his newly built presidential palace.
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