Leaders of the far-right National Movement Party have convinced the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to seriously consider moving presidential and parliamentary elections from November 2019 to this August.
The push for early elections is a reflection of Turkish nationalist parties seeking to solidify their ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership amidst rapid economic growth (7.3% in the fourth quarter) that may not sustain until November 2019. This growth is threatened by Erdogan’s military action against Kurds in Syria and a dip in foreign investment that has weakened the Turkish lira.
In the interest of remaining in power, the AKP may have to accept. Given heated movements against the extended state of emergency and worsening relations with the West over the Kurdish conflict, Erdogan’s legitimacy may be further imperilled if Turkey undergoes economic collapse before a later vote. An early election could also see the ascent of the opposition Republican People’s Party through legal means, as political dissent has been widely repressed. Indeed, the decision for snap elections could be a dramatic turning point in Erdogan’s agenda.
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Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.