In an early election announced in the backdrop of an ongoing state of emergency and a declining lira, as well as shifting of international alliances and increasing involvement of the state involvement in Syria, Turkish voters are expected to vote in the coming June this year.
On Wednesday, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the snap elections. With the announcement, it becomes very clear that it will be held 18 months earlier than planned. The surprise move was taken after the President’s main ally, far-right leader Devlet Bahceli called for snap elections in the country.
The elections on June 24 will be the first such parliamentary and presidential elections in the country which will see a new system coming into effect to give the president increased powers. The announced date is yet to be confirmed by the electoral board.
A constitutional referendum was narrowly won by the government’s “Yes” camp in April 2017 that changed Turkey’s parliamentary system to an executive presidency.
The changes passed in the referendum on the constitution give the next president new powers which include, appointing vice presidents, ministers, high-level officials and senior judges. They also permit the president to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and impose a state of emergency.
Erdogan, who is the chief of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), stressed in his announcement on the necessity of having an executive president at a crucial time for Turkey.
“Although the president and government are working in harmony as much as possible, the diseases of the old system confront us at our every step,” Erdogan said in a televised address.
“Developments in Syria and elsewhere have made it critical to shift to the new executive system so that we can take steps for our country’s future in a stronger manner,” he added, after his meeting with Bahceli, who leads the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Earlier in January, Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) militia begun a military operation into Syria’s Afrin to remove a US-backed Kurdish militia-known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and also its armed wind, the US-supported YPG, to be “terrorist groups” with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey’s operation against the US-backed YPG angered Washington, but apart from that Turkey too was upset with its NATO ally over its support for the group.
As of now, Turkey is working out with Iran and Russia to put an end to the Syrian war, while its cooperation and collaboration with Moscow have expanded in multiple areas ranging from energy to defence.
After the announcement of the early polls call, both the Turkish lira, which had recently been on a rapidly declining trend, as well as the stock market rallied.
The elections were originally scheduled for November 3, 2019.