Turkey's opposition alliance calls for snap polls amid turmoil within ruling AKP

Turkey's opposition alliance has called for snap polls amid the deepening turmoil within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "We want elections to be held as the opposition," İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener told reporters during a joint press briefing with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Nov. 25.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) is seen with İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener.

 Duvar English

Turkey's opposition Nation Alliance has called for holding early elections amid the turmoil within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener said that the country can't be continued to be ruled like this. 

"We want elections to be held as the opposition," Akşener told reporters alongside Kılıçdaroğlu on Nov. 25.  

"Turkey can't go on like this. There is no merit, transparency, accountability, justice, the superiority of law, and democracy. There's no confidence in the economy since these don't exist. Of course, we want elections. We want it for the people to be comfortable," she added. 

Saying that the number of opposition seats in parliament is insufficient to force the government to head to snap polls, Akşener noted that elections can be held early if Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli asks for it. 

Kılıçdaroğlu said that he agrees with Akşener. 

"The toll of this government on the people is increasing every day. It's a reality that Turkey experiences weaknesses both domestically and internationally. The concepts of the superiority of law and democratization should be introduced," the CHP leader said. 

"They should admit that they can't govern Turkey and seek the opinion of the people. You can't be afraid of the people. The people are the main address to solve all problems. This is the rule of democracy and the people should be asked for a solution," he added. 

While the CHP and the İYİ Party constitute the Nation Alliance, the AKP and the MHP are together in the People's Alliance. 

The opposition has been promising a return to the parliamentary system on the grounds that the current executive presidential system is not functioning and the country is governed by "a one-man regime." 

Major changes within AKP

There have been major changes within the AKP since the beginning of November. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed former minister Lütfi Elvan as treasury and finance minister to replace his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, following his shock resignation.

Albayrak's resignation came after Erdoğan replaced Central Bank governor Murat Uysal with Naci Ağbal in a bid to make the Turkish Lira gain some value. 

More recently, Bülent Arınç, a heavyweight within the AKP, resigned on Nov. 24 after Erdoğan criticized him for calling for the release of two political prisoners, Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş. 

All the while, reports of cracks within the People's Alliance intensified following mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı's threats to Kılıçdaroğlu and Bahçeli's support for the convicted criminal. 

The AKP criticized Çakıcı for threatening the main opposition head and said that the legal processes were launched. 

Bahçeli on Nov. 24, however, dismissed those rumors with a very harsh tone. 

"This alliance was not built on political negotiations. Our relationship with our president is so consistent, balanced, uncalculating, unplanned, principled, and based on mutual respect that enemy heads cannot understand," Bahçeli told members of his party during a weekly parliamentary group meeting.

Those who want to introduce disagreements between us should look for somewhere else to do so. The People's Alliance is Turkey's only hope and its guarantee against the world," he said, adding that "cowards, plotters and swindlers" were targeting them.

Bahçeli also said that the alliance is not one that's based on "theft, chaos and failure."

Bahçeli's attack on government critics also came after Erdoğan vowed earlier this month a new era of judicial reforms, after years of growing criticism from opponents at home and allies abroad.

Slamming the rumors of cracks within the alliance, Bahçeli said the MHP and the AKP are together for the history and rights of the Turkish nation and not to seek office.

Erdoğan vows reforms with nationalist ally

A day later, Erdoğan also praised the People's Alliance, saying that the reforms on its agenda will be spearheaded by it. 

According to the president, the alliance is the most extensive example of political solidarity in Turkey.

"Hopefully, we will bring the economic and judicial reform agenda in life as the People's Alliance. Just like Mr. Bahçeli said, this is not an alliance based on secret or open negotiations," Erdoğan told AKP members in a parliamentary group meeting on Nov. 25. 

Turning to the opposition's call for a return to the parliamentary system, Erdoğan said that the biggest reform that Turkey experienced is its switch to the presidential system. 

On Nov. 24, longtime Erdoğan ally and former AKP lawmaker Mehmet İhsan Arslan was sent to the party's disciplinary committee after criticizing his party and the president over various issues, including the presidential system. 

In an interview, Arslan said that the presidential system would not last long.

“I think that this is a period, and it will pass. After it does, Turkey's transfer [back] to a parliamentary system is not far away," he said, prompting the AKP to refer him to the disciplinary committee.