No ‘indecent proposal,’ let’s sit and talk, says Turkish PM
REUTERS photoThe opposition’s criticism of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) way of handling failed coalition talks has put its leader, incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, on the defensive, as he fiercely defended his self-made roadmap to form an interim power-sharing government.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference shortly after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed him to form an interim government to lead the country to a new election after two months of coalition talks failed to produce a working government, Davutoğlu reiterated that he planned to offer posts to individual figures from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Davutoğlu was defiant as he counterattacked senior executives from both parties for dubbing the planned proposal “indecent.”
“The constitution very openly says that a proposal is made to members of parties. However, my doors are open if party leaders want to meet. I almost begged, saying ‘Let’s form a government before the 45-day deadline expires,’” Davutoğlu said.
“Putting pressure on party members and accusing them of immorality is not right. What is being offered is rule of the country together for two months. Neither I nor my colleagues have intervened in the internal affairs of any party and we will not do so. We have not been in any immoral contact and we will not be so. We haven’t made any indecent proposal to anybody,” he said.
The prime minister has five days to form the interim cabinet and is obliged by the constitution to offer cabinet posts to opposition members. Candidates from outside parliament can fill the posts if the opposition turns them down. Out of three other parties holding seats in parliament according to the results of the June 7 election, only the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has expressed eagerness to take part in such a government.
When asked about Davutoğlu’s plan to offer cabinet posts to figures in his party, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Aug. 23 stated that “there is no such dishonest person within the CHP.” He also argued that that current chaotic environment in Turkey had been created by the government “on purpose.”
Davutoğlu refused the accusations. “Those who have almost forgotten how we got here have made accusations saying ‘AK Parti is willingly forcing the country to an election.’ This is not true,” he said.
“A country cannot be governed by closing doors. What would this country look like if the AK Parti had said, ‘We will not give any members to this government?’” Davutoğlu said, underlining that Turkey was facing a “serious security threat” at the same time as “serious fluctuations in the global economy.”
“I’m planning to call on deputies at parliament. Come, let’s shoulder this responsibility together. I’m ready to listen to your convictions. We can always hold such a meeting at any place, but if the constitution has outlined a roadmap with very urgent provisions such as ‘A government is to be formed, a Council of Ministers is to be composed, and the country is to go to elections without having been left without a government,’ then we all need to obey this,” he added.
Exact date set as Nov. 1
Also on Aug. 25, the top election authority finally set Nov. 1 as the exact date for Turkey’s early elections, with its head stating that it had taken “seasonal conditions” into consideration while making its decision.
The announcement by Supreme Election Board (YSK) President Sadi Güven came on Aug. 25, a few hours after Erdoğan officially tasked Davutoğlu with the job of forming an election government. The head of the AKP, which lost its parliamentary majority despite winning the highest number votes in the June election, had returned the mandate to form a new government to Erdoğan on Aug. 18. The 45-day deadline on the formation of a new government expired on Aug. 23, paving the way for fresh elections within 90 days - at the latest on Nov. 22.
Speculation had mounted over the possible impact of an election on Nov. 1, as there is an official holiday in the preceding days. It is thought that some civil servants may be planning to extend their one-day official Republic Day holiday on Oct. 29, negatively impacting voter turnout.
Meanwhile, the YSK also ruled that the CHP could implement a recently passed amendment to its internal regulations that would help it avoid holding primaries before the election during such a short timescale.
The CHP held primaries in 56 electoral districts ahead of the June 7 election, nominating 362 of its candidates for the 550-seat parliament through primaries, 35 candidates through a quota, and the rest according to decisions by the party’s headquarters and provincial branches.