Erdogan mandates PM to form caretaker government

Friday 21/08/2015
Erdogan is hoping to emerge stronger from next elections

ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday met Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to give him a fresh mandate to form a caretaker government ahead of snap polls.

The meeting comes a day after Erdogan called early elections which the presidency said "has become a necessity" after efforts to form a coalition government failed following the June 7 elections.

The situation is unprecedented in modern Turkish history -- never before have parties failed to form a coalition after elections and new polls been required.

The closed-door meeting between Erdogan and Davutoglu was underway at the president's controversial new palace, the presidency announced.

The poll date is expected to be confirmed by Turkey's election body later Tuesday, NTV television reported.

Erdogan -- who previously indicated that he expected the polls to be held on November 1 -- wants the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) he co-founded to win back an overall majority to govern alone.

The opposition Republican People's Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have refused to take part in an election government.

This forces Davutoglu to form an interim cabinet with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) as well as non-partisan figures outside parliament.

The prospect of forming a government -- however brief -- with the HDP is an unsettling prospect for Davutoglu who has accused the party of being a front for outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Erdogan is hoping to emerge stronger from the next elections, with his eyes on a powerful presidency with full executive authority like in France or the United States.

To do this, the AKP needs to win a three-fifths majority with least 330 seats in parliament to change the constitution by calling a referendum.

A majority of two-thirds -- 367 seats -- would allow the changes to be passed without a referendum.

Davutoglu is now obliged to form a government within five days from the time the mandate is given.

Turkey is being dragged into political uncertainty during one of the most critical periods in its recent history.

The economy is in decline while the country is on a heightened security alert with the government waging a dual offensive against Islamic State and Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria.