Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said he would run in next year’s presidential election and brushed aside rumors of a snap poll in the economically battered country, Agence France-Presse reported.
It was the first time that the strongman, who has been in power since 2003, officially announced his widely expected candidacy.
“Let me say it here. Tayyip Erdoğan is the candidate of the People’s Alliance,” Erdoğan told a party rally in the western city of İzmir, referring to an alliance between his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the second-largest party in parliament, has not yet fielded a candidate, and Erdogan tossed a challenge to its leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
“Declare either your candidate or your candidacy,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said the election would be held on time, on June 24 of next year.
There have been rumors of an early election amid Turkey’s economic woes triggered by the weakening lira and 73.5 percent inflation — the highest level since 1998.
Critics have blamed Erdoğan’s unorthodox economic policy of pushing for lower interest rates to combat price rises for the economic mess.
Contrary to conventional economic theory, Erdoğan is convinced that high interest rates fuel inflation rather than rein it in.
On Monday he said, “This government will not hike interest rates.”