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Erdogan ally calls for early elections

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and head of the Nationalist Action Party Devlet Bahceli will meet tomorrow to discuss the latter's call for early elections.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli addresses his party MPs during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas  - D1AETJVKAMAA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would consider calls from his far-right nationalist ally to hold game-changing presidential and parliamentary elections earlier than the scheduled date of Nov. 3, 2019. The call by Devlet Bahceli, the head of the Nationalist Action Party, to bring forward elections — possibly to Aug. 26 — sent tremors through the political establishment, with opposition parties scrambling to come up with credible presidential candidates and tactical alliances that might deprive Erdogan of a second term.

Until now, Erdogan had angrily denounced mounting speculation about snap polls amid deepening financial troubles and growing unease of his authoritarian grip on power, saying the elections would be held as planned. But in an apparent shift, a poker-faced Erdogan told reporters today he was meeting with Bahceli tomorrow in Ankara. “We will evaluate [these] matters there,” he said. Erdogan noted he had nothing further to add other than that he had already aired his views on early elections. But he stopped short of saying these remain unchanged, thus implying he might be open to persuasion.

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