Ankara: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he expected to receive a mandate on Thursday to form a new government and to start coalition talks next week, more than a month after an election deprived his AK Party of a parliamentary majority.
Opposition lawmakers have accused President Tayyip Erdogan, a founder of the AKP and Turkey’s most popular — and polarising — political figure, of deliberately delaying coalition talks in order to keep a firm grip on power and push for a snap election he hopes would give his party a majority.
“Today the president will probably give the mandate to me to form a government. After receiving the mandate, I will ask for meetings with all political parties,” Davutoglu told members of his party in parliament.
“I plan to make the first round of coalition talks next week.” Davutoglu was due to meet Erdogan at 1330 GMT. Under parliamentary procedure, formal coalition talks cannot begin until he receives the mandate, at which point he has 45 days to form a new government or face the prospect of another election.
It remains unclear whether the Islamist-rooted AKP is leaning toward forming a coalition with the rightist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) or the main opposition left-leaning Republican People’s Party (CHP).
While the nationalists are closer to the AKP ideologically, an alliance would likely scupper a peace process with Turkey’s Kurdish minority, something Erdogan sees as part of his legacy.
Sources have told Reuters some of the AKP’s top brass are leaning towards a grand coalition with the secularist CHP, although it remains to be seen whether that would be palatable to the party’s devout Muslim rank and file.