Turkish presidential spokesman rejects early election speculation, says deputy transfer against democracy

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın on Saturday rejected talks of an early election and said opposition's plans for transferring deputies were harmful to democracy, Gerçek Gündem news website reported.

Deepening economic crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic and growing reports of strife within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have raised speculation that the country could be headed for elections well before the scheduled date. 

However, Kalın said polls were not on their agenda until the next scheduled general election in 2023, according to Gerçek Gündem.

"There is no election environment in Turkey in this period. There will be no snap elections. The elections will be held in 2023," Kalın said.

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdardoğlu, last week said that the CHP would be willing to provide support by way of deputies for the newly formed DEVA and Future Party should they wish to form a group to enter parliament ahead of the next elections. 

"But deputy transfers are against the basic principles of democracy. The deputy transfer harmed civilian politics," the presidential spokesman said.

Two former AKP senior figures formed two new parties earlier this year. Former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan’s centre-right Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), announced on March 11, runs on a platform of technocratic governance with a focus on economic management. Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s conservative Future Party was formed in December, aiming at more conservative voters.

Meanwhile, regarding the removal of Cihat Yaycı, the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy Rear Admiral, by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a regular procedure, Kalın said. 

"Removal of a soldier from active duty is a normal process. He contributed with his works and books. And, he can still do it," Kalın said.

Yaycı was the architect of Turkey’s maritime deal with Libya deal last and the so-called "Blue Homeland" doctrine that claims an extensive maritime jurisdiction in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.