Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jan. 18 signalled that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on May 14, which is normally scheduled to be held in June.
“On May 14, 1950, Menderes came out of the ballot box with an overwhelming victory by saying 'Enough! It is the nation’s turn to speak'. Our nation, 73 years later on the same day, will once again say enough for these coup pranksters that is called the Table of Six (the opposition alliance),” Erdoğan said during the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting.
Erdoğan's remarks came after his signal for a possible early election due to “the seasonal conditions.”
In 1950, Adnan Menderes and his Democrat Party beat İsmet İnönü’s Republican People Party (CHP) which had been in power for 27 years, mostly under a single party regime. DP was able to get 53.5 percent of the votes, whereas CHP remained at 39.9 percent.
Menderes, a name frequently commemorated by Erdoğan and the AKP, was executed by hanging following a coup in 1960 after serving as prime minister for 10 years.
“Now, we ask for the support of our nation in 2023 by saying, ‘Enough! The decision and the future belong to the nation.’ Despite the tutelage enthusiasts who do not want to leave the right to determine the future to our nation, we will start the Century of Turkey,” Erdoğan said.
“We are a party that has determined its dreams and targets according to 2023. In the 100th anniversary of our Republic, we have achieved the goals that we wanted to reach our country and our nation, to a great extent, even though the heavy attacks and global crises that our country has been subjected to in the last 10 years have caused delays in some issues. 2023 is both the symbol of our 20 years of work, as well as the beginning of our new vision, the Century of Turkey,” he added. “This is what makes the upcoming election important and historic.”
“Table of Six” is the name of alliance of the six opposition parties that are united to change Turkey’s presidential regime to “strengthened parliamentary system”, consisting the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), center-right İYİ (Good) Party, Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party (DP), DEVA (Democracy and Progress) Party and Future (Gelecek) Party.
Can Erdoğan run for another term?
Some critics say that Erdoğan can be a candidate if the Parliament decides to hold early elections due to term-limit.
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.
Erdoğan's five-year term of office expires in June 2023, and the debate is going on whether he could be a candidate again.
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 is if the Parliament decides to hold early elections with the approval of 360 lawmakers out of 600. The total number of seats in the People's Alliance, consisting of ruling AKP, far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the ultranationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP), is 335.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli previously said that there is no obstacle for Erdoğan to be a candidate again.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had said that his party would not object to Erdoğan's candidacy.
On the other hand, the opposition bloc has yet to nominate a candidate.