Turkey: Erdogan cant run for third term as eager opposition leader eyes up power grab

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The statement comes at the time when the Turkish president and wild card of NATO diplomacy, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will fly to Kiev on Thursday to offer himself again in the role of mediator between Ukraine and the Russian president Vladimir Putin. He will be joining the flock of overseas leaders lending their support to Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and is expected to sign a free-trade deal.

In a sign of the visit’s importance, Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, and Ibrahim Kalin, chief adviser to the president of Turkey, spoke on Tuesday about their commitment to “deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine”, according to a White House statement.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party of Turkey, said on Tuesday that incumbent Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan could not run for a third presidential term according to the country’s constitution, unless early general elections are held.

The next general elections in Turkey are scheduled to be held this June.

On Monday, Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli said that Erdogan would be a candidate of the ruling People’s Alliance in the 2023 presidential election.

However, Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, dismissed the rumours and said there were no legal barriers for the incumbent president to join the presidential race.

The spokesman also stressed there would be no early general elections either.

Mr Kilicdaroglu told Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet: “Everything is clearly written in the provision of the constitution.

“If the elections are held on time, Erdogan will not be able to run for a third term.

“Otherwise, if the elections are held on time, the constitution will not allow him to be a candidate.”

At the same time, Mr Kilicdaroglu expressed his eagerness for early elections.

He said: “Let there be early elections and Erdogan will appear in front of me.

“This is my political appeal. The people have no more time to wait for elections.

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“Early elections must be held immediately. This is my intention.”

In 2014, Erdogan won the first presidential election in the country. Four years later he was re-elected for a second term.

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