Bekir Bozdag: emergency state will not affect Turkey's elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday announced that general and presidential elections were being moved up to June 24, nearly a year and a half earlier than scheduled.

Some 55 million Turkish people will be eligible to vote for the 600-seat parliament, as well as for the president who will be able to use all the powers granted to the head of the nation through the controversial April 16, 2017 referendum that replaced the parliamentary system with an executive presidential model.

Turkish opposition parties say they are ready for June 24 snap elections, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the election announcement, previously slated for November 2019.

"There can not be an election under emergency rule", CHP spokesman Bulent Tezcan said.

Today, Parliament extended the country's state of emergency for another three months.

He was referring to the current parliamentary system in place in Turkey, which will be made redundant after the upcoming presidential election when the government will switch to an executive presidential system. If no contenders receive a simple majority, the two top candidates will run in the second round of presidential elections two weeks after, on July 8. Some 160,000 people have been detained and a similar number of civil servants dismissed since the failed putsch, it said.

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The Turkish President, 64, has been in power since 2003, first as Prime Minister and then as President from 2014 after constitutionally changing the role and importance of the office. The decrees have allowed the government to close down media outlets and non-governmental organizations.

"Even though it seems as if there are no serious issues because the administration and the presidency work compatibly, the diseases of the old system pop up at every step", Erdogan said Wednesday.

Last month, Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, with the help of MHP votes, passed a set of changes to the country's electoral laws that critics said are aimed at helping Erdogan consolidate power and could lead to election fraud.

Why call a snap election now?

Last month, a United Nations report concluded that Turkey's state of emergency had led to human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions and dismissals, torture and ill-treatment.

  • Megan Austin