Turkey under the AKP: Key dates

AFP , Sunday 1 Nov 2015

A woman reacts as she listens to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a rally of his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (Photo:AP)

Turks were voting on Sunday in the second general election in five months following an inconclusive poll in June.

Here is a timeline of key events in the country since the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) first came to power 13 years ago:

The AKP scores its first electoral victory in November after years of political instability and an unprecedented financial crisis. The victory sets off alarm bells in the secular establishment. Its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan becomes prime minister the following year.

The AKP launches a raft of democratic reforms, such as allowing Kurdish language broadcasts on public television. Turkey begins accession talks with the EU in October 2005.

In the spring, a political crisis erupts after the AKP names Abdullah Gul as its candidate for president. The army cites concerns over secularism because his wife wears a headscarf, triggering early elections.

The AKP wins the July vote and a month later, parliament elects Gul as president. The government progressively brings the army to heel.

The AKP initiates a constitutional amendment to lift the ban on the Islamic headscarf at universities but it is annulled by the constitutional court. The AKP narrowly escapes dissolution by court order for anti-secular activities and the headscarf ban is progressively eased from 2010.

In June, the AKP wins a third consecutive election. Erdogan begins a third term as premier, the last mandate according to AKP rules.

In June, Syria shoots down a Turkish fighter jet. Other incidents follow. Ankara severs relations with Damascus after the start of the conflict in March 2011, supporting rebels and admitting Syrian refugees -- who number more than two million in 2015.

In March, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, announces a ceasefire after secret negotiations with Ankara.

In May, demonstrators stage a rally against government plans to redevelop a park near Istanbul's Taksim square. The protest quickly grows into wider nationwide demonstrations against Erdogan throughout June, leaving eight people dead and thousands injured after a brutal police crackdown.

In November, a feud emerges between Erdogan and exiled influential US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

In December, the government becomes engulfed in a corruption scandal with the arrest of key Erdogan allies.

Turkish authorities purge thousands of police and prosecutors believed to be linked to Gulen and places curbs on the Internet.

The AKP wins local elections in March.

In May, a mine disaster claims 301 lives, sparking new anti-government protests that are violently repressed.

In August, Erdogan wins the first popular vote for the president with 52 percent.

The AKP wins most votes in a June 7 election, but loses its parliamentary majority, ending almost 13 years of single party rule. The Peoples' Democratic Party becomes the first pro-Kurdish party to win seats in parliament.

In July, 34 people are killed in an attack in a mainly Kurdish town on the Syrian border. Turkey launches air strikes on IS targets in Syria and PKK militants in northern Iraq. A wave of violence is unleashed between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces ending a two-year ceasefire. Turkey joins the US-led coalition fighting IS the following month.

In August, Erdogan schedules fresh elections for November 1 after the AKP fails to form a coalition.

Twin suicide bomb blasts in Ankara on October 10 kill 102 people at pro-Kurdish opposition peace rally.

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