Commentary: 4 factors that led to Turkey’s snap elections

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called snap elections at the request of his ultra-nationalist ally, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), in a surprise move forced upon the government by the situation in Syria and economic worries.

Despite repeated assertions made over many months to the media and to his lieutenants within the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that elections will be held at the scheduled time, November 2019, Erdogan agreed to go to the voters following a public call on Tuesday from Devlet Bahceli, leader of MHP and Erdogan’s de facto coalition partner.

“The cross-border operations in Syria, and the historical events centring around Syria and Iraq, mean it has become a must for Turkey to surmount the uncertainty as soon as possible,” the Turkish president said, referring to the “uncertainty” of the country being in a transition phase between a parliamentary system and the new executive presidency system voted through in last year’s referendum.

The elections are due on 24 June, and Erdogan’s abrupt move to solidify his power rests on a strategy of avoiding risks that could impact on the AKP in the near future.

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Asli Aydintasbas of the ECFR

Asli Aydintasbas is Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR, where she primarily works on Turkish foreign policy and external ramifications of its domestic politics.