Turkey's President Erdogan announces early elections

Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria policy different from Iran Russia US

Both presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on the same day, and will change Turkey's political system from parliamentary rule to placing sweeping powers in the hands of the president.

The elections, which were earlier scheduled for fall 2019, are important as a new executive presidency agreed in a referendum will come into force.

The small Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) nationalist party headed by Devlet Bahceli is believed to have supported the call for the early vote.

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Some investors had already been factoring in the prospect of early elections, saying the government would struggle to keep the economy going at its current breakneck pace - it expanded at 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter - until late next year. Authorities embarked on a purge of state and societal institutions of suspected supporters of exiled cleric and Erdogan rival Fethullah Gülen, who now resides at a safehouse in the US.

Erdogan said the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency, which was adopted on April 16 a year ago with a referendum supported by the MHP.

The president has always been known to many analysts as a leader who hates early elections as they dominated the country's earlier turbulent decades of weak governments.

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Bahceli met Erdogan earlier at the presidential palace to discuss the proposal in an eagerly-awaited meeting that lasted only half an hour, the presidency said. After the election date was confirmed, Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), demanded an immediate end to the state of emergency.

The parliament is due to vote Wednesday on whether to prolong the state of emergency that was declared after the failed July 2016 coup.

"The state of emergency needs to be lifted immediately, there can not be an election under emergency rule". "The country needs to brought out of the emergency rule regime starting today".

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He said he had once made such a request to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley but was told there was no such provision. Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh said his state "like many other states, has been affected by a cash crunch".

"Our analysis shows that the country (Turkey) continues to take huge strides away from the European Union, in particular in the areas of rule of law and fundamental rights" said European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

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