On Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced he has agreed with his political ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli that Turkey should hold early elections on June 24.
Only on Tuesday, Bahçeli, addressing his deputies in Parliament, said Turkey has to switch quickly to the presidential system of government in view of the international and domestic challenges, and thus set the course for a viable and stable administration. He said early presidential and parliamentary elections have to be held on Aug. 26.After Erdoğan and Bahçeli met on Wednesday, the date was set for June. Erdoğan in the past has insisted that elections would be held in November 2019 as scheduled and local elections would be held in March 2019.
The Turkish people approved switching to the presidential system of government on April 16, 2017 in a referendum which would go into effect after the 2019 November polls. So President Erdoğan still had another 19 months to go as head of state before the scheduled polls.
However, he too has seen in recent times the massive problems that are piling up at home and abroad, which need to be dealt with determination and precision but that cannot be done under the current system where we are in a state of transition from the old system to the new and there are administrative as well as logistical problems.
The president is really in charge but as long as there is a prime minister, their goodwill and the fact that they are old friends and comrades help them solve the administrative problems. But it is clear that this cannot go on for another 19 months when Turkey has to face challenges of all kinds.
What future course do we take in Syria, how do we handle the Iranian expansion in the Middle East, what do we do with Iraq, how to proceed in the fight against terrorism, how can we build new bridges of understanding with the U.S. and how do we go ahead with the uncertainties that govern our relations with the European Union?At home, how do we really revamp our education system, how do we continue to prevail with the notion of a social welfare state and how do we keep the momentum on maintaining a sound health system that serves the people?How do we address the needs and expectations of the Kurds of Turkey? How do we take steps on human rights issues and freedom of expression?How do we face the challenges in the economy where tradesmen and artisans are sinking fast? How do we ward off international assaults against our economy?
These are some of the challenges that have to be addressed by a stable and determined administration. We can only do that if President Erdoğan gets a resounding mandate from the Turkish people on June 24, 2018. He is the mastermind of the new system, and now he has to be given the chance to build the system and see to it that it works.