Erdogan Urges Speedy Formation of Coalition

Erdogan Urges  Speedy Formation of CoalitionErdogan Urges  Speedy Formation of Coalition

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called for the swift formation of a new coalition government, ending almost four days of unusual silence after legislative polls seen as a blow to his authority.

Erdogan’s comments added weight to expectations of a coalition government in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) he cofounded lost its majority in last week’s dramatic polls.

“Everyone should put their egos aside and a government must be formed as soon as possible, within the constitutional process,” Erdogan said in his first public comments since Sunday’s vote, AFP reported.

In a message to investors rattled by the political uncertainty, Erdogan insisted that the election result “certainly does not mean Turkey will remain without a government.”

He said he hoped political parties will opt for a solution rather than crisis.

“We cannot leave Turkey without a government, without a head. Those who are condemned to their egos will neither be able to give account to history, nor to our people.”

Although the AKP won the biggest share of the vote in the elections, it lost its majority for the first time since it came to power since 2002.

The elections were also seen as a personal blow to Erdogan, who has dominated Turkey first as premier from 2003-14 and now as president.

Erdogan wanted AKP to win a super majority to push through a new constitution that would give him reinforced powers as president. But this plan has now been scuttled for the foreseeable future.

Erdogan said the election result was “the people’s will” and must be respected.

“Nobody, no matter which politician, has the right to say ‘I.’ We must say ‘We.’”

 Troubled History With Coalitions

Acting as Turkey’s interim prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday history had shown Turkey was not well suited to coalition governments, but did not rule out any options.

“We’ve used the coalition eras of the 1970s and 1990s as an example to show that coalitions are not suitable for Turkey and we still stand by that stance,” Davutoglu told a meeting of AKP party officials in Ankara.

“However, with the current political picture ... we are open to any scenarios based on the latest developments.”

The election results meant the AKP will have 258 seats in the hung 550-seat parliament, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) 132, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the HDP 80 apiece.

Analysts have said an AKP-MHP coalition is the most likely option, with the AKP sharing a nationalist voter base with the MHP.

But such a partnership could also spell trouble for the peace process with Turkey’s Kurds, which is opposed by the MHP.

In-fighting between coalitions in the 1990s undermined Turkey’s economy and derailed a series of International Monetary Fund economic aid programs.

Davutoglu said all options would be exhausted before fresh elections were considered.

 Lashes out at West

Reports have suggested that some in the AKP were unhappy with Erdogan’s aggressive conduct of the campaign, where he lashed out at enemies in all directions.

However in Thursday’s speech, the combative leader showed no sign of retreating into a corner. He lashed out at western media following a series of “ugly” articles critical of his conduct as president.

“It is hard to understand their intolerance. It means, thank God, we are on the right path. I would doubt about myself if they had praised (me).”

He also accused the West of leaving refugees to “drown” in the Mediterranean. “We cannot allow this,” he said.

Erdogan warned that all those “who pinned their hopes on Turkey entering into a climate of crisis or chaos will be disappointed once again.”