Turkey’s Erdogan wants early elections if no coalition



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for early elections if efforts to form a coalition yield no results after the ruling party lost its overall majority in June 7 elections, media reported on Friday.

Turkey is without a full time government even as it presses cross-border military operations against jihadists in Syria and Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

Some critics accuse Erdogan of launching the military operation in the hope of triggering early elections to try reverse the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) lacklustre performance in the legislative polls.

“It remains to be seen if a coalition will be formed,” Erdogan told reporters on his plane while travelling on an official visit from China to Indonesia, the Hurriyet newspaper and other media reported.

“If not, we should turn to the national will immediately so that people will decide again and we will emerge out of the current situation,” he said.

The AKP took power in 2002 as a single party government after rocky coalition governments in the 1990s and a severe financial meltdown in 2001.

Erdogan made clear he had little enthusiasm for coalitions.

“If we expect them (coalitions) to bring benefits to our country, it is in vain,” he said. “Investments will not flow if there is no stability and trust.”

The results of the June 7 polls were seen as a major blow for Erdogan, who wants to create a presidential system in Turkey to consolidate his power.

His comments come as Turkey presses a two-pronged “anti-terror” offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq.

So far the focus of the offensive has been more on fighting the Kurdish militants than IS, despite the role played by the Kurds in fighting the jihadists in Syria.

Turkey sees the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia fighting IS in northern Syria, as a local offshoot of the PKK, and sharply opposes the idea of an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.

Erdogan said Syrian Kurds were seeking “to form a corridor from the utmost east to the Mediterranean” but IS blocked their plans in Jarablus in northern Syria on the Turkish border, where extremists and Kurdish forces clashed.

“But Turkey will not allow a game of good terrorist-bad terrorist. A terrorist is a terrorist,” said Erdogan.

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