Mr. Erdogan has said he would make it his last term as prime minister if he is re-elected, although there is speculation that he might seek the presidency in 2012.
“This did seem like a dress rehearsal for the 2011 elections and as such AKP looks strong,” said Mr. Cook. “While Erdogan remains the odds-on favorite, this referendum took place many months before the national elections and anything can happen. Turkish politics don’t generally crystallize until the weeks before the elections.”
Voters have rewarded Mr. Erdogan’s party for Turkey’s robust economic growth during the AKP’s eight years in power.
But the leading opposition party — the nationalist Republican People’s Party known as CHP — has experienced a resurgence in recent months since the selection of a new leader, Kemal Kilicoglu in May.
Because of a mix-up in voter registration, Mr. Kilicoglu was unable to cast his vote and initially made no public statements after the disappointing results. But last week, he castigated the European Union for endorsing Mr. Erdogan’s package, noting that it would effectively grant Mr. Erdogan and his AKP allies the power to appoint judges in addition to the president, the parliamentary speaker, police chiefs and governors.
“The honest people of this country do not allow this,” he said. “Those in favor of democracy do not allow this, but the deaf officials of the European Union say, ‘What a good thing it is you’re doing.’”
Under Mr. Erdogan, Turkey has made a fierce but thus-far unsuccessful bid to join the European Union. Despite the recent rhetorical support of new British Prime Minister David Cameron, however, Turkey’s candidacy is seen as more of a long shot than ever, particularly after its recent overtures to Iran and Syria as well as its abrupt turn away from longtime ally Israel after nine Turkish nationals were killed aboard a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in a clash with Israeli commandos.