Er­do­gan holds sur­prise meet­ing with a lead­ing Turk­ish op­po­si­tion fig­ure

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Wed­nes­day held a sur­prise meet­ing with a se­nior fig­ure from the op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP), as Turkey’s po­lit­i­cal forces weigh up coali­tion op­tions af­ter leg­isla­tive elec­tions.

The rul­ing Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party (AKP) lost its over­all ma­jor­ity in Sun­day’s polls, in what was seen as a ma­jor blow for Er­do­gan and the Is­lamic-rooted AKP which has ruled Turkey for the last 13 years.

The re­sult has plunged Turkey into a pe­riod of po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty un­prece­dented since the AKP came to power, with the coun­try fac­ing ei­ther a coali­tion gov­ern­ment or early elec­tions.

Er­do­gan, who has yet to speak in public about the re­sults, held two hours of unan­nounced talks in Ankara with Deniz Baykal who was CHP leader un­til 2010 and re­tained his seat.

The meet­ing came amid spec­u­la­tion that one way out of Turkey’s po­lit­i­cal im­passe could be a “grand coali­tion” be­tween the CHP and AKP.

Speak­ing to re­porters af­ter­wards, Baykal said Er­do­gan was open to all forms of coali­tion.

“I saw that Mr. Pres­i­dent has an open un­der­stand­ing for all kinds of coali­tions,” the CHP grandee said.

Baykal also said he saw no ob­jec­tion on the part of the pres­i­dency to­wards an op­po­si­tion coali­tion that would not in­volve the AKP.

“The po­lit­i­cal par­ties need to talk about the is­sue of a coali­tion. The pres­i­dency is not go­ing to pre­vent a con­sen­sus,” he added.

Baykal said he would now in­form CHP leader Ke­mal Kil­ic­daroglu about the re­sults of the meet­ing.

The meet­ing also caused con­sid­er­able rib­aldry on so­cial net­works with users re­call­ing how Er­do­gan had glee­fully mocked Baykal when he re­signed from the CHP post amid an al­leged sex tape scan­dal.

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