The leaders of two Turkish opposition parties on Monday reiterated a call for snap elections, citing the country’s economic woes, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and centre-right nationalist Good Party (İYİP), Meral Akşener, made the remarks during a joint rally in southern Mersin province, the newspaper said.
“Turkey is crying,’’ Akşener said, adding that her meeting with local business owners in the area had affirmed the nation’s desire for snap polls ahead of the elections scheduled for June 2023.
The opposition’s call arrives as Turkey grapples with a volatile currency and soaring inflation, which surged to 36.1 percent in December, the highest level since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2002.
“Mersin residents are saying ‘hold the elections, surrender to the ballot boxes.’ This is the message that the people of Mersin are giving,’’ the İYİP leader said.
Turkey now places in the top ten of high inflation countries, along the likes of Argentina and Venezuela, as the population struggles to make ends meet. The price of basic foods have surged to unprecedented levels, threatening support for Erdoğan.
The lira was the worst performer in emerging markets in 2021, as well as in the last few years, according to Reuters. The currency lost 44 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar last year.
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu echoed Akşener’s sentiments during Monday’s rally.
“If the ballot boxes don’t arrive today, they will tomorrow,’’ Cumhuriyet cited Kılıçdaroğlu as saying. “The people want change, they want elections.’’
Erdoğan has dismissed the opposition’s calls for snap polls, saying that the elections would take place as scheduled in 2023.
Last month, the Turkish leader said it was “primitive” to hold elections every 15 to 20 months, T24 news site reported.
Less than 24 percent of the respondents said they would vote for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) if there were immediate elections, according to a survey by Turkish pollster Metropol published last month. AKP received 42.56 percent in the parliamentary elections of 2018.