Cyprus Mail

Turkey opposition leader keeps door open to grand coalition after Nov 1 vote

Davutoglu meets with Kilicdaroglu in Ankara

By Gulsen Solaker

The head of Turkey’s main opposition party indicated on Monday he would be open to reviving coalition talks after a snap election on Nov 1, taking another stab at an alliance with the ruling AK Party after discussions broke down in August.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), also told Reuters in an interview that the previous attempt to form a grand coalition between the two parties was blocked by President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Davutoglu’s AK Party took 40.9 per cent of the votes in June parliamentary polls, failing to secure a single-party government for the first time since coming to power in 2002. Efforts to form a government with CHP failed after weeks of talks, setting the stage for Sunday’s election.

“We will consider the results of the election and do our best to form a government,” Kilicdaroglu said in an interview on board the plane en route to a campaign rally in the eastern province of Kars.

“Davutoglu and Erdogan are responsible for the inability to form a coalition. Davutoglu does not have an independent will and Erdogan controls him. As a person who could not go out of Erdogan’s area of effect, he did not have the chance to form a coalition,” he said.

Erdogan, who helped found the AKP, lobbied voters aggressively in the run-up to the June election, hoping to secure a supermajority that would allow it to change the constitution and give him greater power.

Some in the party, in private at least, blamed him for their drop in support, arguing his outsized ambitions hijacked the campaign and put off even some AK loyalists.

The secular, centre-left CHP came second in the June election with 25 per cent of the vote. Polls have suggested the AK Party will again fail to form a government alone and AKP officials have said there is little appetite to push the country toward yet another snap election after November.

Kilicdaroglu echoed that sentiment.

“Turkey cannot bear the burden of a new election,” he said. “A new election would break the trust of people in politics.”

Davutoglu, who has said he is confident the AKP will be able to regain its single-party rule, said in an interview on Sunday that his party would not leave the country without a government ‘even for a day’ after the vote.

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