Erdoğan takes Turkey to re-election as opposition warns PM over ‘indecent proposal’
AA photoAs President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan officially announced his decision to take Turkey to re-election in November, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s bid to offer posts in the interim government to individual figures from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has been given the cold shoulder, with senior executives from both parties dubbing the proposal “indecent.”
After a meeting that took longer than four hours with Parliament Speaker İsmet Yılmaz, Erdoğan announced his decision with a written statement late Aug. 24.
"Despite contacts with all political parties, a cabinet of ministers could not be formed and it became clear that it was not possible to do so under current conditions. As such, a necessity to renew the election has appeared," the statement said, citing Constitution's articles that gave Erdoğan the authority for this decision.
According to Turkey's Constitution, an interim government must be formed in five days and the re-election must be held in 90 days.
Both the CHP and the MHP have already made clear that they will not take part in such an interim government led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which won the highest number of votes in the June election despite losing its parliamentary majority. Despite this, AKP leader Davutoğlu suggested on Aug. 23 that he planned to offer cabinet posts to individual figures from the CHP and the MHP, arguing that the constitution grants him such an authority.
However, CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Özgür Özel slammed the offer on Aug. 24.
“All our doors are closed to such an indecent proposal. Our phones are closed. If they call us, if they harass us for such an indecent proposal, then we will block out Davutoğlu’s telephone. He will not find anybody as a counterpart anymore,” Özel said.
“Even mentioning the names of CHP deputies in relation to such immorality is not ethical for us. We would strongly reject this,” he added.
MHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Oktay Vural similarly described Davutoğlu’s planned move as “indecent” on Aug. 24. According to Vural, Davutoğlu’s remarks indicated the “degeneration” and “desperation” of the prime minister and his team.
“They are so far from understanding the situation that they could even consider forming a government through ‘Güneş Motel’ tactics … It is not appropriate for the prime minister to get involved with indecent ‘Güneş Motel’-style proposals. The will on whether to take part in a government or not is displayed by the political parties. Davutoğlu doesn’t have the right to make such a proposal. He has stood next to the HDP,” Vural said.
The phrase “Güneş Motel” often refers to dirty dealing in Turkish politics, describing an initiative by then-CHP leader, the late Bülent Ecevit, who persuaded a group of deputies from the now-defunct Justice Party (AP) to join his party at a clandestine meeting at Istanbul’s Güneş Motel in 1977 with offers of cabinet posts in a future government. The CHP then forced the government of the time to resign through a vote of no-confidence in parliament.
When asked whether he would offer ministries to CHP and MHP members, Davutoğlu told reporters on Aug. 23 that he would do so, “looking at the spirit of the constitution.”
“Whatever the constitution says in our current system, I will do. The constitution doesn’t say, ‘[parliamentary] groups must take the decision, the names of nominee candidates are conveyed and the parties must decide at parliament,’” he added.
Under Turkey’s constitution, a so-called “election government” comprised of all political parties represented at parliament, should lead Turkey from the calling of the election to the holding of the election.
The current situation is unprecedented, as Turkey has never seen repeat snap elections after the collapse of coalition talks last week.
‘No such dishonest person in CHP’
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.”
The CHP and the MHP have both so far flat-out refused to take part in any unity government, leaving only the fourth-placed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the AKP accuses of being a front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
MHP head Devlet Bahçeli’s strict refusal had proved decisive in eventually leaving an interim power-sharing cabinet as virtually the only option left. Bahçeli is widely assumed to have calculated that the prospect of HDP politicians in ministerial positions will so enrage those on Turkey’s political right that they will flock to support his party at the next election.
Also on Aug. 23, while explaining how the CHP had “done its best” to form a coalition government with the AKP, Kılıçdaroğlu referred to a recent encounter he had with the father of a Turkish soldier who addressed a joint question to the leaders of Turkey’s three biggest parties: Why couldn’t they form a government when people’s lives are being lost due to the escalating conflict between the security forces and the PKK?
“My dear brother, may God be my witness, I did my best to bring today’s picture to the point that you wanted,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “But they preferred chaos and didn’t come together. They didn’t want to do so because their concern is to protect their own posts, not you’re the serenity of your child or yourself. The CHP head also added that current chaotic environment in Turkey had been created by the government “on purpose.”