Erdogan to call snap election amid Kurdish tensions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday he would call snap elections after the failure of coalition talks and a rise in tensions over military action against Kurdish rebels.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had abandoned efforts to form a coalition government earlier this week when talks ended with two smaller parties. Political analysts say discontent has been growing because of renewed fighting with the PKK Kurdish rebel group.

Erdogan, who suffered a rare setback in inconclusive June polls, said he would meet the parliament speaker on Monday to make arrangements and formally call new elections, likely for November 1.

“After that, we will take our country to early elections,” Erdogan said. “God willing, on Nov. 1, Turkey will go through what I like to call repeat elections.”

Interim government

The Turkish leader also said he would form an interim government to lead the country to the election, and that he had no intention of giving Turkey’s opposition leader – Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the second-placed Republican People’s Party (CHP) — a mandate to do so.   After Prime Minister Davutoglu failed to agree to an AKP-led coalition this week, Erdogan did not offer the CHP the chance to do so.

Renewed fighting with PKK rebels after a two-year cease-fire came weeks after the AKP lost its majority in the June general election, leading to growing skepticism about the motive for the return to hostilities.

Opponents have accused Erdogan of seeking early elections all along and meddling in coalition talks in the hope that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would benefit by being seen as the only way to peace.

Davutoglu’s AKP lost its 12-year majority rule in June elections mainly due to the success of the newly created pro-Kurdish HDP.


(Photo of Erdogan and Davutoglu: AKP)