Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Er­do­gan says he will call Nov. 1 snap elec­tions


Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said Fri­day he would call snap elec­tions likely to be held on Nov. 1 af­ter coali­tion talks failed in an un­prece­dented po­lit­i­cal im­passe.

Er­do­gan, who suf­fered a rare po­lit­i­cal set­back in in­con­clu­sive June polls, said he would meet the par­lia­ment speaker on Mon­day to make the ar­range­ments and then for­mally call the new elec­tions.

“We will take our coun­try to elec­tions,” Er­do­gan told re­porters af­ter Fri­day prayers in Ankara.

“God will­ing, Tur­key will have the elec­tions again on Nov. 1.”

A dead­line for po­lit­i­cal par­ties to agree a coali­tion fol­low­ing the June 7 elec­tion runs out on Sun­day, with the rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AKP) fail­ing to form a coali­tion.

The AKP re­mained the largest party but lost its over­all ma­jor­ity for the first time since it came to power in 2002, in a blow to Er­do­gan’s au­thor­ity over the coun­try of 75 mil­lion peo­ple.

Er­do­gan’s com­ments in­di­cated that he would use his right to call elec­tions as pres­i­dent, rather than us­ing the al­ter­na­tive route of agree­ing the new polls through a mo­tion in par­lia­ment.

“Can the pres­i­dent call early elec­tions ac­cord­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion? Yes he can!” said Er­do­gan.

Op­po­nents have ac­cused Er­do­gan of seek­ing the early elec­tion all along and med­dling in the coali­tion talks in the hope the AKP will im­prove on its vote in new polls.

Af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu failed to an agree a coali­tion led by the AKP, Er­do­gan no­tably re­frained from of­fer­ing the sec­ond- placed Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP) the chance to do so.

The op­po­si­tion has ac­cused Er­do­gan of vi­o­lat­ing the con­sti­tu­tion but the pres­i­dent said he would not meet CHP leader Ke­mal Kil­ic­daroglu, who re­fuses to set foot in his con­tro­ver­sial new pres­i­den­tial palace.

“Why shall I in­vite the one who does not know Bestepe?” he said, re­fer­ring to the Ankara dis­trict where the palace is lo­cated.

“Is there a rea­son to lose time?

‘Emerge vic­to­ri­ous’

The elec­tion will come as Tur­key fights an “anti-terror” of­fen­sive against Kur­dish mil­i­tants and ji­hadists, with some crit­ics ac­cus­ing Er­do­gan of seek­ing po­lit­i­cal gain out of the con­flict.

Turk­ish forces have killed 771 mil­i­tants of the Kur­dis­tan Work- ers’ Party (PKK) in north­ern Iraq and south­east­ern Tur­key over the last four weeks, the state news agency Ana­to­lia said Fri­day.

The agency — whose fig­ures could not be con­firmed in­de­pen­dently — said among those killed were 430 rebels who died in air raids on PKK camps in Iraq.

Mean­while, some 50 Turk­ish sol­diers and po­lice have been killed in at­tacks blamed on the PKK, with their fu­ner­als a daily event on Turk­ish tele­vi­sion.

“With God’s per­mis­sion, we will emerge vic­to­ri­ous out of this busi­ness ... the blood of (mar­tyrs) will not re­main on the ground,” said Er­do­gan.

Un­der the con­sti­tu­tion a so­called “elec­tion gov­ern­ment,” com­pris­ing all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties rep­re­sented in par­lia­ment, will lead Tur­key from the call­ing of the vote to the elec­tion.

The sit­u­a­tion is un­prece­dented — the mainly Mus­lim but staunchly sec­u­lar Tur­key has never seen re­peat snap elec­tions af­ter the col­lapse of coali­tion talks.

The CHP and third-placed Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) have both so far re­fused to take part in such a unity gov­ern­ment, leav­ing the fourth-placed Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party (HDP) which the AKP ac­cuses of be­ing a front for the PKK.

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