President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called snap elections for June 24, saying economic challenges and the war in Syria meant Turkey must switch quickly to the powerful executive presidency that goes into effect after the vote. The presidential and parliamentary elections will take place under a state of emergency that has been in place since an attempted coup in July 2016. It was extended by parliament on Wednesday for another three months. In 15 years of rule as prime minister and then president, Erdogan has transformed a poor, sprawling country at the eastern edge of Europe into a major emerging market. But Turkey’s rapid growth has come been accompanied by increased authoritarianism, with a security crackdown since the failed coup leading to the arrest of tens of thousands.
Last year, Erdogan narrowly won a referendum to change the constitution and create the executive presidency. The changes take effect with the next presidential vote.
The government had repeatedly denied reports it would bring forward the elections, which were not due until November 2019, but Erdogan said Turkey should leave political uncertainty behind.
Citing its military operations in neighboring Syria and the need to make important decisions on investments and an economy unlikely to maintain last year’s sharp growth, he said it was necessary “to remove the election issue from our agenda”.
Full Article: Turkey’s Erdogan declares early elections on June 24.