Demirtaş calls on Erdoğan to quit politics before 'historical defeat'

Renowned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş has called on President Erdoğan to quit politics before experiencing “a historical electoral defeat.”

Duvar English

Jailed former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş on March 17 called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to quit politics.

In a tweet, Demirtaş said “You don't have a diploma. You are not eligible for re-nomination. You are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, you have no shame. You have plunged the country into poverty, you have no place to sleep. You can't be a candidate when you have so many 'no’s'.”

“Announce that you quit politics while it is possible, let the country breathe. Oh, if you say, ‘I also have the right to experience a historical electoral defeat,’ rest assured that we will deliver your right,” he added in another tweet.

There are debates on if Erdoğan can legally run for office for a third time.

Erdoğan became president for the first time in the presidential elections held in 2014.

He later took office as the first president of the new executive presidential system in the elections held in June 2018. Under the new system, a person can be elected president at most two times.

Pro-government circles say that there is no legal obstacle for Erdoğan to be nominated once again under the new system because the presidency has assumed a different role with the 2017 constitutional reform. However, critics point out that Article 101 of the Turkish Constitution puts a two-term limit on the presidency. A change in the Constitution for this issue needs the votes of two-thirds majority in parliament (400 lawmakers) which the ruling alliance falls short of achieving.

According to critics, another way for Erdoğan to become a candidate was if the Parliament decides to hold early elections with the approval of 360 lawmakers out of 600. 

However, Erdoğan used his constitutional authority to call early elections for the date of May 14.

Turkey's High Election Board (YSK) has the final say on the issue.