Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rejected a calls from opposition parties for early elections, saying the elections will be held in 2023 as scheduled.
“They [opposition parties] have been talking about early elections, nothing will come out of such talk for you. If you have patience, you will wait at the door until 2023,” Erdoğan said at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Wednesday.
Chairman of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener have been calling for early elections, accusing the AKP, which has been in power since 2002, of governing the country poorly.
“We want elections. Turkey can’t go on like this. There is no merit-based employment or transparency. There is a Turkey that is governed by a single person. We are faced with a country in which money flows to the rich, while the poor are left to die,” Akşener said at a news conference with Kılıçdaroğlu in November.
Critics have been complaining about the country’s one-man rule, particularly after the presidential system of governance went into effect in Turkey in 2018 under which Erdoğan was elected as the first president, enjoying vast powers.
Turkey, which holds a general election every five years, is scheduled to hold the next general election in 2023.
In his speech Erdoğan also said Turkey has stepped into a new age in terms of the development of its democracy and economy over the past 18 years under his party’s rule.
Turkey has been going through a series of political and financial crises. There have been gross human rights violations and a regression in freedom of speech during the 18-year AKP rule as revealed in a recent report from CHP deputy Alpay Antman.