Mar 06 2018

Turkey seeks to bury talk of early elections – columnist

Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) will not hold presidential, parliamentary or local elections earlier than planned, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said in an interview with Abdulkadir Selvi, a columnist for Hürriyet newspaper. 

The elections will be held on time and speculation that the government will call early polls for this year, bringing them forward from 2019, is completely false, Bozdağ said, according to Selvi.

Asked about an argument that the government will use the military operation against Kurdish fighters in Syria as a springboard for early elections, Bozdag responded: “Would we use Afrin as a way to go to elections? It never crossed our minds”.

Bozdağ said that the government’s record on avoiding early elections speaks for itself. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never made a promise to the Turkish people and not kept it, and the government isn't in the business of trying to fool voters, he said.

The deputy prime minister set out a calendar of events that will precede the polls, saying that the ruling party will hold meetings of its women’s wing and youth wing later in the year and then its annual congress in September. Then only a short period remains before local elections in March 2019, he said.