Erdoğan rejects snap elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed opposition calls for early elections, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are not scheduled until June 2023 and will not be brought forward, Anadolu cited Erdoğan as saying.

If held on time, elections will coincide with Turkey’s centenary and Erdoğan will not be able to run for president again under current term limits.

“In which developed country of the world is an election held outside the determined time? These are things done by tribal states,” Erdoğan said.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had urged Erdoğan’s ally, leader of the far right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli, to call for snap elections during a televised interview last week.

Turkey last went to the polls in June 2018, after Erdoğan called a new general election more than a year and a half ahead of schedule, a move opponents claim advantaged the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP).

On that occasion, the AKP won just over 42% of the vote, but public support for the party has since slipped to around 32% according to a recent survey conducted by MetroPoll.

The Turkish economy continues to face the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historically low lira, driving down standards of living across the country and leading to growing calls from the opposition for a new election. 

“The current coalition government can no longer run the country. People are getting poorer and poorer. We think it is essential to hold snap elections,” Selçuk Özdağ, deputy leader of the recently established Future Party (FP) told Deutsche Welle.

However, Erdoğan dismissed calls for an early vote, calling instead on the government to focus on the challenges ahead. 

“We should use all of our power, energy and time to achieve our goals,” he said.