The results of the election in Turkey on 1 November took analysts by surprise: the Justice and Development Party (AKP) received nearly half the votes, an increase of 9 per cent on its performance five months ago, and close to its best ever showing, in June 2011. When the party came to power in November 2002, after a long period of instability and economic crisis, it was with only a third of the popular vote. But it quickly captured a good part of the secular electorate when it went along with political reforms required by the EU in order to start membership negotiations. Centre-right business circles were attracted to IMF-inspired institutional reforms, and the AKP won the support of the poor with its health and welfare policies. By the end of the decade, the party’s mastery of the mechanisms of governance was complete. Even after jettisoning the liberals, it won the elections in 2011 with 50 per cent of the vote.