Türkiye’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on May 14, the country’s president said on Friday.
"With the authority given by Article 116 of our Constitution, I signed the decree for renewing the elections on May 14, which were scheduled to be held on June 18, 2023," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara.
The discussions on elections have left their place to the massive earthquakes that shook Türkiye's southern regions on Feb. 6, Erdogan said, noting that "the earthquake has directly affected 14 million citizens living across 11 provinces and was felt in the wider area."
He also said more than 47,000 people died and over 115,000 were injured in the last month's earthquakes.
With an aim to rebuild the quake-hit provinces, the Turkish president pledged to "complete 319,000 houses, consisting of 244,000 residences and 75,000 village houses, within a year and immediately hand them over to their owners."
"The way to pave the road for getting the region and our country back to normal by overcoming the impacts of the earthquake goes through prudently carrying out the decisions taken by a strong political will," Erdogan said.
Türkiye cannot afford to waste time, get distracted, or waste its energy on unnecessary matters, the president stressed, saying election-related topics need to be left behind as soon as possible to "heal the wounds of quake victims, wipe out the traces of the disaster, rebuild our cities, and surge production and employment again in the country."
“Our election agenda will again consist of healing the wounds of the earthquake victims and compensating the economic and social damages of this disaster," Erdogan added.
Citing his two visits to the earthquake regions, the Turkish president announced that he will carry out a third round of visit to the area.
On Feb. 6, two powerful earthquakes – magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 – struck southern Türkiye.
The massive tremors, centered in Kahramanmaras, also shook 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig.
"Without completely eliminating the destruction caused by the Feb. 6 earthquakes and fully redressing the country's economic, social, and psychological losses," Türkiye cannot look forward with confidence, he said.
"As presidential candidates, alliances, and political parties participating in the elections, we must adhere to this truth in every step we take, in every word we say, in every program we announce," Erdogan urged.
Türkiye cannot heal from the earthquakes if May 14 elections process turns into vicious political strife, and into campaigns based on lies and slander, according to the president.
Erdogan also announced that the electoral alliance that the Justice and Development (AK) Party formed with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), known as the People’s Alliance, will not be using any music as part of the elections campaign process.
Following Erdogan's announcement of the election date, the decision was ratified and published in the country's Official Gazette.
Separately, the Supreme Election Council President Ahmet Yener on Friday said May 28 has been determined as the date for a possible second round of presidential elections.
The Turkish nation will choose not only the president but also all 600 members of the parliament on May 14.
In 2017, Turkish voters decided through a referendum to switch from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential system of governance. As of 2018, Türkiye fully shifted to a presidential system of government.