Turkish parliament speaker claims Erdoğan can legally run for president again

Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop on Feb. 7 argued that President Erdoğan can run for the presidency once again over disputes of whether he could be a candidate for the third time. Şentop's comments came following MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's similar remarks earlier in the day.

Duvar English 

Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop has argued that it is legitimate for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to be nominated for the presidency in the next elections. 

"The President has no problem with the issue of candidacy for the third time. I will publish an article on this subject,” Şentop said during a press conference on Feb. 7. 

“There is no legal dispute. There are two nominations [of Erdoğan], not three. I can say that the debates are due to lack of information,” Şentop said. 

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

He later took office as the first president of the new 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. 

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) from the ruling alliance, also stated that there is no obstacle for Erdoğan to be a candidate again.

“If this purposeful and groundless discussion is expanded, we will not refrain from fulfilling our responsibility, we will not hesitate, we will not hold back. We will try our best to make the necessary legal arrangements so that the president can be elected for at least three terms, and we will achieve this,” Bahçeli said on Feb. 7 in a party meeting.

Previously, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that they will not object to Erdoğan's candidacy.

“If he wants to be a candidate, let him come, the nation will take everyone’s measure. These discussions should be left behind now. If others argue, we cannot say anything to them,” he said on a live TV100 broadcast on Feb. 4.