Why Turkey is undergoing snap elections?

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By:  Shahjhan Mustafa

Turkey held presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June, 2018 constitutional amendments gave the President absolute powers. These include the power to issue decrees with the force of law, appoint the cabinet and vice-presidents as well as senior judges. Election 2018 has potential to cross the psychological barricade and opposition led by Social Democrat Republican People’s party (CHP) are challenging the Turkey’s tenacious, Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is in power since 2002.

Erdogan announced the snap polls in April this year originally scheduled for November, 2019. Why are elections being held now? Political researchers and analysts differ in their arguments. One section of scholars and analysts believe that Turkey’s currency and economy are suffering and may worsen till 2019 and this will definitely go against Erdogan. Operation olive Branch was supported by 85% of Turks and Erdogan eyes on nationalist constituencies to gain extra support. They also believe that elections are scheduled for such a close date in order not to provide enough time for opposite parties to campaign against Erdogan. Another section of political analysts while justifying the Erdogan’s step argues that it is imperative for Turkey to have an executive President keeping in consideration internal and regional security of Turkey.

Early elections however seem quite justifiable taking into consideration the developments which are taking place at global and regional level.  Erdogan recently himself accepted that “the disease of old system confront us at each step”. A puissant and stable Turkey is necessary for entire middle-east keeping into consideration the deadly Syrian war. If government statics are believed Turkish economy is doing well and Turkey scored 7.4% growth rate last year and in the first quarter of this year reached the same growth rate. Early Elections will establish a stable government in Turkey which is important for Turkey in many ways which include resolving Syrian crisis and countering terrorism activities from YPG and PKK.

Globally Turkey is important because of many reasons. Its geographic location fallsbetween Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which increases its links to strategically important regions and major energy resources. West sees Turkey as a solution to the middle-eastern crisis especially after Arab Spring and to reach that goal Turkey’s stability is very much Important. It has till now introduced herself in big roles like natural leader of region, a historical big mother and a protector of Muslim minority. Turkey is an example of coexistence of Islam with west’s Democracy and globalization.

Author is an independent Researcher and writes on international affairs, and south Asian History.  He can be mailed at [email protected]

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