Erdogan’s conduct could hamper coalition talks in Turkey

Leader of the Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu has said in the event of a coalition with the AKP, his party will not adopt a “revanchist” attitude.

It has been hinted that negotiations between the CHP which gained 24.96% of the votes in the 7th June Turkish general elections and the AK party which gained 40.87% – not enough to enable it to continue governing the country alone, are afoot.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed the CHP leader’s comments describing them as “important.”

Davutoglu also stressed that “respect” for the position of the presidency was important for the AKP and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should be “kept out of the discussions”.

In an interview with Turkish daily ‘Cumhuriyet’ on 26th June, Kilicdaroglu said he would meet Davutoglu “without prejudice” in order to form a coalition government. Emphasising that their talks would be grounded in the CHP’s “14 principles,” he said those principles would be presented to the AKP during negotiations.

The CHP leader also stressed the need for a change in Turkey’s foreign policy regarding ties with Egypt, Syria and the Middle East in general.

Asked if it might still be possible to form a coalition government of “the 60% block” of opposition parties in parliament, Kilicdaroglu replied that this was out of the question due to the stance of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli.

“If Mr. Bahceli says it’s 100% not possible, then we have nothing to say. It appears that the 60% block has little chance of forming a coalition government,” he said.

Kilicdaroglu said that the controversial issues of the December 17-25 [2013] corruption probe cases and the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) trucks carrying “assistance” to the Syrian opposition would be on their agenda, but the party would not be “revanchist.”

He promised that those cases would be brought onto the parliamentary agenda in due course.

“We don’t want to give the impression that we are taking revenge on Erdogan. The issue should come to parliament’s agenda naturally, within its rule of laws. New evidence and crime elements should emerge so that we can discuss this in an unprejudiced, healthy way,” Kilicdaroglu stated.

Investigations into corruption or other lawbreaking would not be hampered by any coalition government formed by the AKP and the CHP, Kilicdaroglu vowed.

He said the main problem lying between his party and the AKP is the fact that the CHP has no confidence in the current ruling party.

The CHP leader said he that disapproved of any discussions about the issue of President Erdogan’s role and duties during the coalition talks because Erdogan must remain bound by constitutional restraints, regardless.

Since the results of the 7th June elections became known, political party representatives have said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tutelage over the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and his resistance to the normalisation of the country are likely to cause the coalition talks to become deadlocked.

Representatives from three political parties have told Sunday’s ‘Zaman’ that President Erdogan’s baggage is likely to lead to a deadlock in the coalition talks. Erdogan, one of the founders of the AK Party who served as its leader and the country’s prime minister up until his election to the presidency last year, still acts like the party’s leader.

He attracted strong criticism because he held public rallies during the election campaign, asking for support for the AK Party. All this despite the fact that as president, he is constitutionally required to remain impartial.

Former AK Party deputy chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, who is now an HDP representative, has said Erdogan is negatively affecting the coalition talks not only because of his obstruction of investigations into high level corruption in 2013, but also because of the way he has created an imbalance of power in the country.

Firat believes that the course of the coalition talks will be affected by the level of power and influence Erdogan continues to hold over the AK party.

Edited from Hurriyet and Zaman

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