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Is Turkey heading for snap elections in August 2018?

Amidst increasing political tension in Turkey,  governing AK Party’s ally Nationalist Movement Party MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli announced that Turkey can not possibly wait for the scheduled time of November 2019 for elections and called for snap elections for August 2018.

Leader of the Nationalist Movement Party MHP, Bahçeli stated that the patience would run out until November 3rd, 2019 waiting for parliamentary and presidential general elections, and this would make it even harder to achieve a balance in the country while there are discussions regarding system-change. MHP vice-chair Semih Yalçın has given the details of the call for snap elections saying “waiting for 1.5 years for elections is a long way from now and there are many worries that there might be some road accidents, hence we have taken a decision to hold general elections before the upcoming municipal elections. We have made a call, but the decision stands with the governing party and the President. We have some worries regarding the process.”

Governing AK Party’s government-spokesperson and vice-prime minister Bekir Bozdağ has responded to Bahçeli’s call to have elections on August 26, 2018 a year before the designated schedule, and said that the suggestion would be taken into consideration by official bodies.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli once again had proposed snap-elections in 2002 while he was a coalition partner with Democratic Leftist Party DSP and Motherland Party ANAP, yet none of the coalition partners could enter the parliament after elections on November 3, 2002, while newly founded AK Party under Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership had entered the parliament with 34% of the national vote and the only opposition party became CHP with 19% of the vote.

President Erdoğan commented on the discussions over snap presidential and parliamentary elections saying he would have a meeting with the leader of MHP tomorrow adding “I have no more comments for the moment being, but we will meet tomorrow and discuss this process and this kind of announcements”. President Erdoğan also held a joint-meeting with the parliamentary spokesperson Ismail Kahraman and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in his office today.

President & AKP chair Erdoğan has spoken at the party group meeting at the Parliament where he repeated the designated date of 2019 for elections, “Now with the alliance of the people, a new era will begin in Turkey. This alliance will be brought forth to 2019 for presidential and parliamentary general elections.”

What has opposition said?

Main opposition Republican People’s Party CHP vice-chair Bülent Tezcan also joined in the discussions regarding snap-elections this summer saying “Bring it on, we are ready! But abolish the State of Emergency Rule so that there is no shadow over the legitimacy of the elections.” CHP’s leader Kılıçdaroğlu also spoke at the parliamentary group meeting saying “do not vote for the party that keeps promising things and then do not keep that promise. Do not vote for them. I know we are in the election-atmosphere already now, they will go around visiting in all corners. They will try to deceive you. If you have something to ask for, you will seek your rights. Have they given any promises? Then you should follow this. If they have not kept their promises, you should throw them out the door and say there is no vote for you here.” Kılıçdaroğlu also added “their representative has spoken, he said they are unable to govern. They are confessing that they are unable to govern, they call for elections. We are fed up with them, it is high time the citizens send them out.”

Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan asked on the other hand how the country would hold elections under State of Emergency Rule. Buldan continued saying “Bahçeli would be unable to announce elections without Erdoğan’s approval. Erdoğan does not want to retract his words, making Bahçeli say what he actually wants to say. How would it be possible to hold elections under State of Emergency Rule then?”

Buldan also spoke at the HDP party group meeting in the Parliament saying “if you have taken such a decision, we as HDP respond that we are already ready, and I call upon everyone, it is high time we topple AKP in this country. They had said they would give an Ottoman-slap while entering Afrin. Prepare for the Kurdish-slap in the elections now. You will turn upside down with the slap by the Kurds.”

IYI Party vice-chair Lütfü Türkkan spoke to journalist Zeynep Gürcanlı saying “so far the debate and discussion around snap-elections has unraveled outside of AKP, yet it is the minor ally of the government that has announced it. The snap elections will bring forth the destruction of this government. It will enable the Turkish nation to get rid of current government. May this be joyous for our nation. This has made us happy at the IYI Party.”

IYI Party’s vice-chair Ümit Özdağ also announced that the party is ready for elections reminding that the party leader Akşener had repeatedly suggested that the government might hold snap elections on July 15, on the anniversary of the failed coup attempt. Özdağ continued “we had assumed the elections would be postponed to November due to AKP general congress yet the fears of economic downfall has forced the Palace and AKP for snap elections, and they made Bahçeli announce this statement.

Finally, IYI Party leader Meral Akşener also responded the calls for snap elections saying “we have all heard Bahçeli’s call for snap elections. We are already coming out of a very dark period where our friends are not invited to TV programs where we are being discussed on the table. For us, snap elections or regular schedule of elections does not matter. Let’s see what Erdoğan and his little-ally Bahçeli will decide.”

Non-parliamentary parties are hopeful amidst call for snap elections

Leader of the ultranationalist Fatherland Party, Doğu Perinçek also responded to calls for snap elections saying his party is ready for elections already, adding “it does not seem probably that there could be organised elections on the proposed date due to legal infrastructure. Reform packages have not been passed in the parliament yet. Bahçeli is unable to think of this, he is panicking terribly because his party is dissolving. I am already declaring from now, Tayyip Erdoğan will not win the elections.”

Islamist Saadet Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu who had previously been suggesting that the government would hold raid-elections said “it is not possible for Turkey to take a step forward under current circumstances. The governing party is unable to generate a solution to any problem we are living in. For that reason we believe it is a logical decision to hold snap elections.”

Leader of the Labour Party Selma Gurkan also responded to calls for snap elections saying “while the discussions have been revolving around State of Emergency Rule, hostilities and conflict-focused policies prior to 2019 elections where democratic liberties are being curtailed under current political atmosphere, Bahçeli just like he had surprised everyone at the Presidential System Referendum last year on April 16, today has brought forth the idea of ‘raid elections’ in front of us. Is this his personal statement or is he assuming the role of spokesperson of the alliance?”

What does the industry think?

President of the largest trade & industrial chamber in Turkey, Erol Bilecik also approached the calls for snap elections from an economical perspective stating that 2018 was expected to be a year of infrastructural reforms and combating high inflation adding “snap elections will destroy the atmosphere for these changes. Elections under State of Emergency Rule would put Turkey under a hard position. We had always supported the statements that elections would take place on scheduled time so far.” While the discussion on snap elections continued, the Turkish Lira’s value has fallen in the stock exchange. US Dollar has gone up from 4.08 to 4.12 while Euro has seen 5.11 during the day.

 

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