Turkey ‘swiftly’ heading to snap polls: Erdoğan

Turkey ‘swiftly’ heading to snap polls: Erdoğan

Turkey ‘swiftly’ heading to snap polls: Erdoğan

DHA photo

Turkey is quickly heading toward early elections after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to form a coalition government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Aug. 19.

“We are once again swiftly heading toward an election,” said Erdoğan, addressing village headmen for a ninth time in Ankara, adding that the only solution to the current political impasse was turning to the “will of the nation.”

Erdoğan’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu informed the president that he had failed to form a coalition government following talks with the opposition.

The AKP lost its overall majority in the June 7 polls for the first time since it came to power 2002, forcing it to seek a coalition partner. Under the constitution, the president is obliged to give the mandate to form a coalition to the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which came second in the election. But Erdoğan on Aug. 19 hinted that he would not do so, just days ahead of an Aug. 23 deadline to form a new government. 

“I have no time to lose with those who do not know the address of Beştepe,” he said, referring to his controversial new presidential palace that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has refused to set foot in Erdoğan’s palace, which the opposition party has called “illegal.”

Erdoğan also slammed the allegations that he is preventing the formation of a coalition government on the grounds that he is seeking an early election that could again give the AKP a majority in parliament. 

“Now they say the president is preventing the formation of a government. The conditions to form a government are clear. Did you meet these conditions and came but the president refused to meet you? Did you shake your hands on an agreement but the president hit your hands? I have not intervened in the process of [government formation] so far except for overseeing the constitutional process,” he said. 

According to the constitution, the AKP will be able to continue as a minority government until elections if a majority in parliament votes in favor of holding early polls.

If, however, Erdoğan uses his right to call the election himself, a so-called “election government” will be formed until the polls, consisting of members from all four parties represented in parliament.

The elections should be held 90 days after being called, meaning that Nov. 22 would be a possibility if Erdoğan calls the polls shortly after the Aug. 23 deadline. Erdoğan said Turkey faced a problem of forming a new government at a time of “terror,” accusing the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of working “to divide our country.”

He said the government had invested 260 billion Turkish Liras in the east and southeast over the last 12 years. “I am either on the side of my state or terrorist organization. You will make the choice. If we are going to die, we will die once but die like a man,” he said. 

Erdoğan also vowed that the campaign against the PKK would continue. “Terrorists will lay down their arms. They will not only lay down arms but bury them under concrete.”

Meanwhile, Erdoğan was set to consult with Parliamentary Speaker İsmet Yılmaz on the formation of a new government later on Aug. 19, presidency sources said.