7 May 2018Hot off the Press
Counter-terrorism, the economy and EU membership are the focus of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election manifesto, as Turkey prepares for snap general and presidential elections on 24 June.
Mr Erdoğan described the election as a “milestone” for Turkey in a speech at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) congress in Istanbul on Sunday, vowing that the country would “take the stage as a global power”.
Prominent on the agenda of the AK Party are new military operations that will “clear [Turkey’s] borders from terrorists”, the President announced. “The operations will continue until not one terrorist is left.”
This will include launching new cross-border operations similar to Turkey’s previous military campaigns, operations “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch”.
“Euphrates Shield” (August 2016–March 2017) targeted Islamic State and Kurdish militants in Syria, while “Olive Branch” drove out the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) group from Afrin in early 2018.
“We shattered the terror corridor being formed on our southern border with these operations. Our soldiers … are ready for new missions”, President Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also vowed that there will be “more prosperity and more freedom” in Turkey, which includes reducing interest rates and inflation, major problems that have seen Turks paying higher prices for food.
The consumer price inflation in Turkey reached almost 11% in April, significantly higher than Eurozone estimates of 1.2%.
Turkey remains in a state of emergency since a failed coup in 2016, and the Government has been criticised for its tough security measures and media restrictions that followed the 2013 Gezi Park protests.
Although this will likely continue to impact Erdoğan’s aspirations of membership of the European Union, the President is undeterred.
“We have never given up on our goal of full membership to the EU, although lately we have not seen the same determination and desire from our counterparts”, he said.
This election will also mark Turkey’s transition from a parliamentary system to a presidential system, in which the powers of the President are increased.
The next President will replace the Prime Minister as head of government, and have powers to appoint vice-presidents, ministers, senior government officials, and senior judges, as well as powers to dissolve Parliament, issue executive decrees, and impose states of emergency.