August 3, 2015 | Quote

Erdogan Signals Possible Snap Election

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled the possibility of an early parliamentary election. His comments come as talks about forming a coalition government drag on in Ankara.

His supporters, meanwhile, are calling for the main pro-Kurdish opposition party, whose electoral performance last month denied the ruling party a majority, to be banned, accusing it of being a stalking horse for terrorists.

Erdoğan raised the possibility of a snap election in remarks to reporters while heading to Indonesia, noting that Turkey will need to return to the polls if ongoing government coalition talks fail.

He also made clear his own dislike of coalitions, pointing out that they tend to be short-lived and that Turkey, as it pursues a two-front war against Islamic State militants and Kurdish separatists, needs a strong government.

“For more than 20 years, the [average] longest lifetime for coalition governments has been three or four months,” he said.

Erdoğan’s Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, has been conducting negotiations with the two main opposition parties, but the talks appear to be stuck. Commentators and opposition politicians are accusing the Turkish leader of pursuing a strategy geared to obstruct the formation of a coalition government.

Merve Tahiroglu, an analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said he thinks it unlikely the AKP government would take such a drastic move, arguing the ruling party’s leadership has in the past adopted a strong stance against banning political parties.

“Because most of its leadership comes from parties that were banned,” she said. “The goal is to damage the HDP’s image by identifying it with the PKK. The endgame for Erdoğan is early elections and to regain the conservative Kurdish votes the AKP lost to the HDP in June — and also to diminish the HDP’s appeal among liberal Turkish voters.”


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