Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has denied rumors the government would call a snap election, saying that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) always favors polls to take place on their planned dates.
“Elections in Turkey will be held on time. There will be no snap elections; there will be elections held on time,” Bozdağ told reporters after a meeting in Ankara on March 1.
Turkey is scheduled to hold local eletions in March 2019 and parliamentary and presidential elections in November 2019.
The AKP has initiated its preparations for the election period, holding its local congress and pushing for a legal change to make a pre-election alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) possible. As the legislative package of the “People’s Alliance” between the AKP and the MHP included extensive measures about the election procedures, and the government has accelerated its efforts to pass the law in parliament, there have been rumors that the alliance was favoring holding the elections at an earlier date.
Daily Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi cited sources on March 1 as saying that some lawmakers thought the party could take advantage of the public support the AKP has been receiving recently on an ongoing military operation in Syria’s northwestern district of Afrin.
“We say there will be no snap elections,” Bozdağ said, repeating it three times.
“But it seems that some people in Turkey have the urge to bring the elections forward. We are telling them: The government decides when the elections will be held in Turkey, and the government’s decision is clear: The election will be held on time,” he said.
“Holding the elections on time is the AKP’s party tradition. Those who cannot accustom to that tradition have to adjust to it,” he added.
The November 2002 elections, from which the ruling AKP emerged to power as a single party, and the snap elections of November 2015, in which the AKP regained the parliamentary majority it had lost in the June 2015 elections, were both held after initiations by MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli.
The MHP leader has not yet commented on the rumors.
Hurriyet Daily News