Plunged into uncertainty, Turkey could face early election

Plunged into uncertainty, Turkey could face early election

Turkey faced the prospect of weeks of political turmoil after the ruling AK Party lost its parliamentary majority in weekend polls, dealing a blow to President Tayyip Erdogan's ambitions to acquire sweeping new powers, Reuters reported.

Instead of the two-thirds majority he had wanted to change the constitution and create a new presidential republic, the AK Party, while remaining the biggest party, failed even to achieve a simple majority. The outcome augurs weeks of unpredictability as parties vie to form a coalition and possible early elections.

The result could also prompt some soul searching in the AKP, Turkey's dominant political movement for more than a decade, where in recent years religious conservatives, with Erdogan's support, have gained the ascendancy at the expense of center-right and liberal elements.

Erdogan, strident in his attacks on opponents he has in the past accused of betraying Turkey, seemed conciliatory in first comments after the poll - a stark contrast to his triumphalist appearances after recent local and presidential elections

"Our nation's opinion is above everything else," he said. "I believe the results, which do not give the opportunity to any party to form a single party government, will be assessed healthily and realistically by every party.

The precarious outcome may stir concern in Western capitals that see NATO member Turkey as an important island of political stability bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Nearly two million Syrian refugees now live in Turkish camps, Islamic State militants stand on the country's borders and the United States keeps an air base at Incirlik, in south-east Turkey

The uncertainty also triggered a sharp sell-off in Turkish assets, reviving for some memories of fractious, short-lived coalition governments that battered the economy in the 1990s and triggered a string of army coups in the second half of the 20th century.

The lira slid to a record low of 2.8 to the dollar, the Istanbul stock index tumbled 8 percent, and the 10-year benchmark bond yield surged to within a whisker of 10 percent.

Erdogan, Turkey's most popular modern leader but not one used to compromise and negotiation, had hoped a crushing victory for the AKP would allow it to change the constitution and create a more powerful U.S.-style presidency.

The swing away from the president and AK may have had numerous causes.

Some voters may have been disillusioned by Erdogan's increasingly bellicose tone, others wary of his plans to amass further power or alarmed by recent graft scandals around the government that Erdogan ascribed to attempts to topple him and which he cited in launching a purge of the judiciary.

Decisive was the success of a pro-Kurdish opposition party campaigning on a broad leftist agenda that surged ahead to enter parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters the AKP would try to form a coalition government as its first option and was optimistic that it would be able to do so, but added that an early election could be on the cards if it failed.

A coalition without the AKP, he said, was impossible.

The right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is seen as its most likely partner. But its leader Devlet Bahceli all but ruled out such a deal on Sunday, saying Turkey should hold a new election if the ruling party was unable to agree a coalition with other opposition groups.

"The possibility of a government coming out of the current situation is very slim," one senior AKP official said, ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and party leaders to evaluate Sunday's outcome.

"With these results, an early election seems inevitable."

Two other AKP officials also told Reuters a new election looked unavoidable, while Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek warned a coalition would not be as reformist as a single-party government.

Erdogan has yet to appear in public since the election result, but is expected to meet Davutoglu on Tuesday. Once results are officially announced, he will then ask Davutoglu to try to form a government, but could call an early election if Davutoglu is unable to do so within 45 days.

"Everything, from the economy to big projects, is currently on hold, and we don't have the luxury of continuing with an uncertain and weak government at a time when the world is facing great economic risks," a second senior AKP official said.

The AKP's failure to win an overall majority marks an end to more than a decade of stable single-party rule and is a setback for both Erdogan and Davutoglu.

Both men had portrayed the election as a choice between a "new Turkey" and a return to a history marked by short-lived coalition governments, economic instability and coups by a military whose influence Erdogan has now reined in.

The secularist Republican People's Party (CHP) remained the second biggest group in parliament with around a quarter of the vote. But it is ideologically opposed to the AKP and has ruled out any prospect of a coalition with the ruling party.

A blow as the election was to Erdogan, Turkish politics remains marked by the absence of any rival politician to inspire and rally opposition. He is a towering figure, enjoying fierce loyalty especially in the Anatolian heartland.

Sunday's big winner, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which crossed a 10 percent threshold to enter parliament for the first time, has also ruled out going into coalition with the AKP.

Its co-leader Selahattin Demirtas said on Sunday the election outcome had put an end to talk of the stronger presidential powers championed by Erdogan.

A third AKP official said an agreement with the MHP was possible and warned that a failure to do so could lead to prolonged uncertainty that could erase some of Turkey's hard-won economic gains.

"Though it is not a very strong option, it is the only option for a government with AKP ... The only thing that can relieve the markets at this point is an AKP-MHP coalition," the official said.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Trilateral agreement to provide gas to five provinces of Iran - government spokesman
Trilateral agreement to provide gas to five provinces of Iran - government spokesman
Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan sign swap gas supplies agreement (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan sign swap gas supplies agreement (PHOTO)
Problem loans in Azerbaijani banks decrease for year
Problem loans in Azerbaijani banks decrease for year
Loading Bars
Latest
Israel closes borders due to spread of Omicron variant - health ministry
Jorginho redemption as Chelsea rescue Man Utd draw
Israel reports 2nd case of Omicron COVID-19 variant
China, Iran, Russia held useful informal consultations on nuclear deal
French minister urges UK to "take its responsibilities" on migrants
Third case of Omicron variant detected in UK
U.S. readies fight against Omicron but too soon for lockdowns - Fauci
Peskov tells about very positive contacts with EU on vaccination certificates recognition
Declaration of Economic Cooperation Organization celebrates admirable leadership of President Ilham Aliyev - US expert
Trilateral agreement to provide gas to five provinces of Iran - government spokesman
Travel bans due to Omicron "hammer blow" to South Africa's local economy recovery: official
On behalf of FIG, I express our sincere gratitude to all ones involved in organizing these two weeks of Trampoline Gymnastics in Baku - Vice President of Trampoline Technical Committee of FIG
According to preliminary results 6 parties may enter Kyrgyz Parliament
Saakashvili can attend tomorrow's trial on November 7 episode, doctor says
There should be no misunderstanding in Azerbaijan-Iran relationship - Iranian president
Position of all officials in Iran was that territorial integrity of Azerbaijan should not be compromised - Iranian president
We decided that from now on, Iranian-Azerbaijani relations will develop in all areas - President Ilham Aliyev
Visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Turkmenistan ends
Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan sign swap gas supplies agreement (PHOTO)
Kyrgyzstan will strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, president
Omicron variant spreads with cases detected in Netherlands, Denmark, Australia
Azerbaijan really succeeded in restoring country's sovereignty and territorial integrity - President of Turkmenistan
President Ilham Aliyev met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Russian gymnast wins gold at FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in individual trampoline jumping program
Three allies of Armenia in CSTO congratulate Azerbaijan on restoration of territorial integrity - opinion of Israeli expert
Next meeting of Azerbaijan-Pakistan intergovernmental commission to be held soon
President Ilham Aliyev met with Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
President Ilham Aliyev met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan confirms 1,662 more COVID-19 cases, 2,391 recoveries
Iran wants to hold meeting of joint economic cooperation commission with Kazakhstan – FM
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 28
President Ilham Aliyev meets with Pakistani President Arif Alvi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
ECO must be ready for challenges of modern world - President of Kyrgyzstan
Iran interested in comprehensively developing relations with Pakistan – Raisi
Importance of Zangazur corridor is obvious - Turkish President
Iran's relations with Tajikistan to continue in full force – President of Iran
Azerbaijan's achievements highly appreciated by international institutions - President Ilham Aliyev
In total disrespect and hatred to all Muslims, Armenia destroyed and desecrated our mosques - President Ilham Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev takes part in official dinner in honor of participants of 15th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization
Over 60% of adult population in country received two shots - Azerbaijani president
Finalists in individual trampoline among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Iran fully supports the ECO
Iran seeks to promote ties with Turkmenistan - Iranian President
Azerbaijani servicemen suffer in mine explosion in Fuzuli district
Problem loans in Azerbaijani banks decrease for year
28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions continue in Baku (PHOTO)
Number of client accounts in Azerbaijani banks increases
Turkey discloses volume of cargo transshipped via Zonguldak port in 9M2021
Iran eyes increase in exports via customs of Markazi Province
Finalists in individual trampoline among men announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Close relations between Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey are important – Iranian President
Presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan discuss current areas of bilateral relations
Azerbaijan provided financial and humanitarian assistance to about 80 countries to support their fight against coronavirus - President Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijan to allocate at least $1.3 billion for building new cities and towns in liberated territories in 2022 - President Ilham Aliyev
Our strategic foreign exchange reserves exceed our state external debt by over six times - President Ilham Aliyev
Over past 18 years, economy of Azerbaijan developed rapidly - President Ilham Aliyev
Finalists in double mini trampoline among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Today I can say that Zangazur corridor becomes reality - President Aliyev (FULL SPEECH)
Confident that ECO Member States will benefit from Zangazur corridor - President Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijan achieved favourable investment climate as result of large-scale reforms - President Ilham Aliyev
Finalists in tumbling among men announced at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Australia confirms two cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant
Zangazur Corridor to contribute to economic development of region - Turkish FM
President Ilham Aliyev participating in 15th Summit of Heads of ECO member-states in Turkmenistan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review (VIDEO)
Final day of 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions starts at National Gymnastics Arena in Baku (PHOTO)
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev arrives in Turkmenistan for visit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani, Iranian FMs meet at Economic Cooperation Council's meeting in Ashgabat
Georgia imposes new regulations for citizens from 8 countries
Turkey, Turkmenistan sign deals, strengthen ties in Erdoğan's visit
Indonesia bans arrivals from 8 African countries to curb Omicron variant
Volume of goods loaded/unloaded in Iranian ports up
Azerbaijan’s 10M2021 volume of loans issued to energy, chemistry and natural resources decreases
Kyrgyz president leaves for Turkmenistan for working visit
Kyrgyzstan adds 41 fresh COVID-19 cases
Access to finance remains major challenge for small businesses in Georgia - IFC
847 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
Parliamentary elections begin in Kyrgyzstan
Cooperation with regional countries, Iran’s top priority - İranian president
Spanish police march in Madrid to protest against 'Gag Law' reform
Storm Arwen: Third person dies as gale-force winds hit UK
U.S. imposes travel ban from eight African countries over Omicron variant
Israel to ban entry of foreigners from all countries over Omicron
Saudi Arabia allows entry of all travelers who received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Two workers die in accident preparing Spanish stadium for cup game
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on November 28
UK, Germany and Italy detect Omicron coronavirus variant cases
Results of Sochi summit fully reflect position of Azerbaijan - Russian expert
Awarding ceremony third day held as part of 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku (PHOTOS)
Winners in synchronized trampoline jumping at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku determined
Baku names winners of World Age Group Competitions in jumping on double mini-trampoline for men
28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions: Russian gymnast takes first place in tumbling
Baku names winners of World Age Group Competitions in jumping on double mini-trampoline for women
Azercell announces contest on social network
Gymnast from Kazakhstan win gold in acrobatic jumping at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions
Best moments of third day of the World Age Group Competitions in Trampoline Gymnastics and Tumbling in Baku (PHOTOS)
World age group competition in Baku - Russian gymnast wins first place in individual trampoline jumping
Russian gymnast wins gold in individual trampoline jumping in Baku
Turkmenistan boosts imports of electrical goods from Turkey
All news