Turkey’s top election authority, which has dismissed objections to the nomination of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to run for re-election, has said in its reasoned opinion that Erdoğan is competing for the top state post for the second, not third, time under a new system, according to Deutsche Welle Turkish service.
The Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced its decision last week after reviewing the objections to Erdoğan’s candidacy. YSK President Ahmet Yener said the board’s members unanimously rejected all the objections filed against Erdoğan’s candidacy in the May 14 presidential election.
Erdoğan faced objections on the grounds that his candidacy was not possible according to the constitution because it would be his third term if he gets elected, and the constitution says a president can be elected for only a five-year renewable term.
The YSK said in its reasoned opinion posted on its website on Monday that Erdoğan’s first term in office, which began in 2014, was under a parliamentary system and that Turkey switched to a presidential system of governance in 2017 following a referendum.
The YSK said Erdoğan’s first term as president under the presidential system began in 2018, hence he is running for his second term now.
Five opposition parties and members of the legal community had filed petitions with the YSK against Erdoğan’s candidacy.
Meanwhile, the YSK also dismissed objections based on claims that Erdoğan does not have a university degree, saying that the allegations were “abstract,” and that it does not have the duty to investigate the issue to prove or disprove the claims.
Possessing a university degree is a prerequisite for holding the presidential office in Turkey, and the debate surrounding Erdoğan’s degree has been ongoing since his 2014 election. Erdoğan’s official biography claims he graduated from Marmara University’s economic and commercial sciences faculty in 1981. However, the university’s website indicates that the faculty was established in 1982, raising doubts about the authenticity of his diploma.