Istanbul - Turkey voted in parliamentary elections for a second time in five months amid instability spilling over from neighbouring Syria and renewed tensions over the 30-year-old Kurdish conflict.

More than 54 million people were registered to vote at 175,000 stations on Sunday.

All polling stations closed by 5pm, local time.

Earlier elections held on June 7 had seen the social conservative AK party lose its 13-year single party rule, but four political parties that made their way to the parliament failed to produce a coalition government, and snap elections were called.

In the June polls, the AK party secured 258 seats in the 550-seat house, losing many to the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which achieved unprecedented success for a pro-Kurdish party by getting 80 seats.


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The election council will announce official results in several days.

Main players

The main opposition, centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) and far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP), which respectively won 131 and 80 seats in the last elections, are the other main players in the polls - among the 16 political parties in the fray.

Parties need to secure 276 seats to govern the country alone.

Latest surveys predict a similar four-party setting in the parliament after Sunday's polls.

However, opinion polls have diverse results on the AK Party's capability to secure a single-party government once again.

Baris Yilmaz, a 33-year-old voter, said there is no election atmosphere in Turkey as people do not expect much change compared to June 7 elections.

"I don't anticipate and want a single-party government after the elections. I expect the ruling party to enter into coalition with one of the opposition parties," he told Al Jazeera after casting his vote at a polling station in Kadikoy on the Asian part of Istanbul.

"I believe tension in the country will decrease following the polls after a coalition is formed." 

In addition to political uncertainty, Turkey faces challenges with the economy and its security.

Escalating conflict 

Three bomb attacks in recent months on political and activist rallies across Turkey, blamed on ISIL, shocked the Turkish public, killing 139 people.

A bomb explosion in October at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara, killed 102 people. The violence marked the worst such attack in the country's modern history.

AK Party pledges to restore stability
Meanwhile, an escalating conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a group fighting for more rights for Turkey's ethnic Kurds, has killed scores of Turkish soldiers since a ceasefire and talks between the sides broke down in July.

Amid this atmosphere, the currency of the state, the Turkish lira, has massively depreciated, threatening the stability of the economy.

Selcuk Kaya, a 39-year-old doctor, said he cast his vote considering what Turkey achieved economically during the AK Party rule.

"I don’t believe any of the opposition parties is as capable as AK Party to lead the country. And the opposition’s way of politics is not constructive," he told Al Jazeera at a polling station in Sisli, in the European part of the city.

Orkun Ekmen, a 33-year-old computer engineer voting at the same station, had different views.

"We need change in this country. The AK Party pooled too much power and ruined Turkey. We need a coalition," he said.

Political turmoil

In his election campaign, AK Party leader and prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, promised to re-establish stability.

"I'm sure this time our people will vote for the continuation of political stability ,and that political stability can be achieved only by AK Party," Davutoglu told Al Jazeera. "Therefore I'm very confident we'll have a one-party majority government."


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Deniz Ulke Aribogan, a professor of political science at Istanbul University, said Turkey had reached a point of fatigue after having two elections in five months.

"For people to renew their trust in democracy and elections, polls should be held fairly, in a secure atmosphere and consequently produce a government," she told Al Jazeera.

"Turkey is under high security threats as a result of the current international climate. The country should form a government, leave the elections behind and focus on its real problems. The current instability is corroding the country," she added.

Supporters of the AK Party say it changed the decades-long secularist military and bureaucracy-powered politics of Turkey, freeing the religiously conservative parts of the society and converted an ailing economy plagued by chronic inflation into a growing and stable one.

However, the party has been criticised in the recent years by Western governments, rights groups and the Turkish opposition parties for cracking down on opposition protests and press freedom, alleged corruption, social media bans, and judicial amendments allegedly meant to accumulate power.

More than 54 million people were registered to vote at 175,000 stations [Hüseyin Narin/Al Jazeera]
The election council will announce official results in several days [Hüseyin Narin/Al Jazeera]
Turkey voted in parliamentary elections for a second time in five months amid instability from neighbouring Syria and renewed tensions over Kurdish conflict  [Hüseyin Narin/Al Jazeera]

Additional reporting by Jamal Elshayyal in Ankara

Source: Al Jazeera