Erdogan, Seeking to Solidify Power in Turkey, Calls for Early Elections

Thursday, 19 Apr, 2018

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called a snap election on June 24, moving the date up from November 2019.

Erdogan said the elections that were originally scheduled to be held in November 2019 need to be brought forward in order to quickly usher in a new presidential system to deal with challenges ahead.

President Erdogan declared they are going for snap elections after speaking to the head of MHP, Devlet Bahceli, who a day earlier had floated the prospect of early polls.

"We came to the agreement that we should approach this early election positively", said the Turkish leader about Bahceli's small MHP party, which is expected to form an alliance with Erdogan's ruling AK Party in the parliamentary polls.

Guven said the YSK would investigate in the coming days eligibility conditions to determine which parties can take part in the elections.

Whoever wins will be vested with extraordinary powers after a referendum a year ago transformed Turkey into a presidential republic instead of a parliamentary one.

The government asked Parliament to extend the emergency decree, arguing that security threats from a movement led by US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of masterminding the coup, have not abated.

In a statement quoted by Hurriyet Daily News, Mr Erdogan said: "The intensification of Turkey's internal and external agenda has obliged us to remove the uncertainties in front of us through early elections". It also cites Turkey's continued struggle against Kurdish rebels and other groups.

"The state of emergency needs to be lifted immediately, there can not be an election under emergency rule".

The Turkish parliament approved on Wednesday the extension for another three months of the state of emergency, Reuters reported.

Citing its military operations in neighboring Syria and the need to make important decisions on investments and an economy unlikely to maintain last year's sharp growth, he said it was necessary "to remove the election issue from our agenda".

To enact the state of emergency, the government must foresee serious indications of widespread violence which may interfere with the democratic environment or basic constitutional rights and freedom of its citizens.

The government argued that security threats from a movement led by US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of masterminding the coup, haven't abated.

It also follows the sale of Turkey's largest media group, Dogan Holding, to a group that is close to Erdogan - a move observers say places 90 percent of the nation's media under Erdogan's control.

Gulen denied any ties to the failed coup.