Erdoğan blasts CHP leader, vows ‘no snap elections’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ruled out rumors of early elections being called, while blasting main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his criticism of the recent resignations of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors.
“He keeps saying ‘early elections.’ The date for the elections is already determined. Only if there is a deadlock in the AK Party can early elections be called,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 28 in a speech in the Central Anatolian province Konya.
“As you know, there was such a dead end after June 7, , when we could not reach a conclusion in coalition talks. What happened? We called an early election and you shamed yourself,” he added, referring to CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.
Turkey’s next local elections are currently slated to be held in March 2019, followed by presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2019.
Kılıçdaroğlu has called on the government to bring forward all three elections, in order to “avoid the further deterioration of democracy in the country.”
“Today, Turkey is not being governed. [The AKP’s] biggest anxiety is that the economy will get worse … So I challenge them [to call early elections],” he said in an interview with CNN Türk on Oct. 26, after previously calling for local elections to be rescheduled over the controversial resignation of Melih Gökçek as mayor of Ankara.
With the recent announcement of Gökçek’s resignation, along with the mayors of Düzce, Niğde and Istanbul, Kılıçdaroğlu said “mayors who were elected by half of the population … are either being dismissed or forced to resign.”
“We are making this call for early elections to save the honor of democracy,” he added on Oct. 26.
In response, Erdoğan slammed Kılıçdaroğlu on Oct. 27 and denied any possibility of early elections.
“I find the main opposition’s discussions unnecessary. It shows that they cannot make sense of politics and the recent agenda. There is no such conjuncture. The only aim of their words is to change the agenda,” he said.
“Now this individual is talking about being democratic. You cannot be a democrat. You can only be a yes-man for pro-coup soldiers, nothing else. You are not saving the honor of democracy,” he said.
Erdoğan described the recent local mayoral resignations, which came following pressure from the AKP and the president, as “the consequence of the need for inner party change,” saying it is “our party’s democratic right and a requirement of our responsibility to our voters.”
“We supervise party officials, mayors and lawmakers in accordance with our own customs and we make an assessment. There is a political, legislative and judicial dimension to this. We make assessments and then make the decision,” he said.
‘Good words’ for resigned mayors
Following his party’s central decision and executive board meeting on Oct. 27, Erdoğan instructed party officials to utter “good words” about the resigned mayors, daily Hürriyet reported.
“Nobody should speak negatively about the resigned mayors. No offensive language should be used for these friends,” Erdoğan reportedly said.
“We should not lose people. You should warn the administrators of cities where the change has happened. They should try not to exclude those friends who resigned or were dismissed from their posts,” he added.
Balıkesir mayor expected resigned
Erdoğan also reportedly stated that he expects Balıkesir Mayor Edip Uğur to resign, after Uğur has spent weeks resisting resignation.
“We are expecting the Balıkesir mayor to resign on Oct. 30. If he does not, we will do whatever is necessary and everybody will see what we are going to do. But I think he will resign without a problem,” he said.
Back on Oct. 17, Erdoğan told reporters that Uğur was among Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek and Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe who “have received a demand for resignation.”
Following his comments, on Oct. 19, Uğur commented on the issue and said “everything has a lifespan.”
“There have been rumours and comments involving my name recently. I want to say this about them: Everything has a lifespan, every position has a lifespan. The world is mortal. We are under examination and we say there is benevolence in everything,” he said.