Turkish PM: Early elections process to start 'immediately'

Saul Bowman
April 20, 2018

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to call for snap elections on June 24 is of direct outcome to Greece, more than at any other time, as the Turkish president increasingly espouses a nationalist stance and invests in the political gains this brings him.

The elections on June 24 will be the first such parliamentary and presidential elections in the country which will see a new system coming into effect to give the president increased powers.

Earlier it was reported that Erdogan called the missile strikes the US, UK and France in Syria, "late step", reminiscent of "Bagnet". Later in the day, Bulent Tezcan, the deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party, called for the state of emergency to be lifted immediately because of the snap elections.

CHP spokesman Bulent Tezcan said: "There can not be an election under emergency rule".

The UN last month called for an end to the emergency and accused Ankara of mass arrests, arbitrary sacking and other abuses. Since then, Erdogan has cracked down on dissent, and thousands of people - including political opponents, civil servants, journalists and police - have been jailed.

"The process has officially started", Yildirim said, adding that a bill for early elections would be submitted to parliament today. The law grants the High Electoral Board the authority to merge electoral districts and move ballot boxes to other districts. If the system has changed, we should continue our way with a new system.

The MHP chief's intervention surprised commentators since the government led by Erdogan has repeatedly insisted there will be no early elections.

It is telling that even third countries, the United States among them, are publicly voicing concern over the danger of an "accident".

"After April 16, Turkey is still ruled by a system that we can consider old", he said.

The snap elections are a key test for Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which despite holding a parliamentary majority, faces challenges that could erode its popularity. The Turkish opposition has repeatedly criticized the prolongation of the state of emergency saying that it threatens human rights and freedoms in the county.

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