Turkey goes to polls on November 1 after failure of coalition talks
ANKARA - Turkey will go to the polls on November 1 in snap elections after the failure of coalition talks, the top election body ruled Tuesday, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tasked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a caretaker government.
Erdogan on Monday called the early election which the presidency said "has become a necessity" after the inconclusive June 7 legislative vote where his ruling party lost its overall majority.
The elections will take place on November 1, the head of the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) Sadi Guven confirmed in a statement.
Erdogan earlier asked Davutoglu to lead the caretaker government ahead of the polls as prime minister during a meeting at his presidential palace, the presidency said.
Davutoglu is now obliged within the next five days to form the government that will be in power for just two months to take Turkey towards the new 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.
Erdogan wants the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) he co-founded to win back the overall majority it lost in June for the first time since it came to power in 2002.
"We are going to early elections under a caretaker government, which is unprecedented in Turkish history," Davutoglu told reporters after meeting Erdogan.
"But we shouldn't create the impression that Turkey is going through a political crisis," he added.
The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) 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).
Davutoglu expressed dismay that the CHP and MHP had so far vowed to stay out of the caretaker government.
"Escaping responsibilities and blocking the options would lead to unintended consequences," he said.
Davutoglu said MPs needed to take their responsibility for two months to take the country to elections in an "honourable" way.
HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas meanwhile reaffirmed that his party was ready to take part in the interim administration.
But Demirtas added he would "not be surprised" if the AKP tried to form a government without the HDP.
"Such an attempt would be rejected by the constitutional court," he was quoted by the Dogan news agency as saying.
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has already accused Erdogan of seeking to stage a "civilian coup" with the early election plan, after the full-scale military coups of 1960, 1971 and 1980.
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.
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.