Turkey: Last Minute Coalition Talks Fail

Turkey's prime minister says no agreement reached at a last-ditch meeting with a nationalist party, leaving little option but new elections.

Ben Ariel ,

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkey's prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, on Monday said no agreement was reached at a last-ditch meeting with a nationalist party to form a coalition alliance, reports The Associated Press (AP).

The failure of the meeting leaves Turkey with little option but to hold new elections.

The ruling party came first in elections in June but lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in more than a decade, forcing it to seek a coalition partnership. Coalition-building efforts with Turkey's pro-secular party had collapsed last week.

The deadline for the establishment of a government runs out at the end of the week. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now widely expected to call new elections, likely to take place in the fall.

Erdogan, who founded the ruling party and remains influential, is reported to favor new elections in the hopes that the party can win back its majority.

"Although we wished for it, unfortunately, it has become apparent that it is not possible to reach a common ground with the (pro-secular) party or the (nationalist) party," Davutoglu told reporters after more than two hours of talks with nationalist party leader Devlet Bahceli, according to AP.

Traditionally, Davutoglu is required to hand back his mandate to form the government to allow another party leader to have a go.

He did not say if he would do so but said he would consult with Erdogan to chart a course of action, the report said.

The nationalist party had set stiff conditions for a partnership with the ruling party, including ensuring that Erdogan — a domineering political figure— does not exceed his constitutional powers and that corruption investigations into people close to the president are reopened.

Right after the elections were held, Davutoglu put on a brave face and hailed the results as a "victory" for his party, despite the loss of the majority. Erdogan himself waited more than 24 hours after the results were announced before issuing a statement on the election.