President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Turkish voters to back the ruling party in November snap elections, saying the polls would be a choice between “stability and instability”.
The repeat elections come after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by Erdogan failed to win an overall majority in a June vote and talks to form a coalition government failed.
“I believe that November 1 will be an election of stability or instability,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara, a day after the Turkish election authority confirmed the poll date.
“The national will is going to be manifested in elections. God willing, this country will reach stability again… and no instability will emerge.” The comments were a clear message to voters to vote for the AKP and return its overall majority, thus avoiding the notorious instability that had dogged Turkish politics before the party came to power in 2002.
Erdogan voiced hope that “the problems created by the June 7 election results will be solved on November 1”. “What’s essential is the will of people. Our people will have its word once again on November 1,” said Erdogan. “Parliament failed to solve this, so who’s the authority? It’s people. Then people will solve.”
Critics have said Erdogan had no interest in the coalition negotiations and had sought early elections right from the start. But the president denied he impeded negotiations to form a coalition government and said he played a “facilitator and encouraging” role for Turkey to reach a new government “as soon as possible.”
The June elections also wrecked Erdogan’s dream of changing the constitution to create an executive-style presidency, which would have required a parliamentary majority of at least three-fifths.
The campaign will come at a time of political uncertainty and escalating violence between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish militants which nullified a 2013 ceasefire. Erdogan said the Turkish military was waging an “effective campaign” against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that would continue as “arms ensure wellbeing.”