Turkey's coalition talks approach final phase

Justice and Development Party delegation meets with Republican People's Party members for the fourth time

Turkey's coalition talks approach final phase

World Bulletin / News Desk

Coalition talks between Turkey's Justice and Development (AK) Party and Republican People's Party (CHP) neared their end on Saturday as the delegates prepared to report to their leaders next week.

The meeting in Ankara was the fourth between the parties in the latest round of negotiations. If their leaders agree with the way the discussions have progressed, the parties will meet for a final stage to discuss the mechanics of forming a government.

“As the largest two parties in parliament, representing 65 percent of the nation with 389 deputies, we came together today in search of a high-profile and large coalition,” CHP Deputy Chairman Haluk Koc said.

He described the possible government as “one that has the potential to eliminate the big threats facing Turkey today as well as solve the problems that have accumulated so far in its history.”

The AK Party has been seeking a coalition partner after no party won a simple majority in the June 7 general election. The CHP is the only party that remains in the discussions.

Saturday’s talks focused on the Kurdish issue, religious freedom, public bureaucracy and freedom of the press, Koc said, adding that the CHP had “sincerely shared its opinions with a view to solving Turkey’s issues” in the talks.

“We have never haggled over posts and we won’t,” he told reporters after the meeting. “What matters is not who will be assuming which post but what our nation will win during this process.”

Omer Celik, the AK Party's minister for culture and tourism, said the last “exploratory meeting” would be held on Monday after which the delegations would report to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

“Then the party leaders will evaluate the reports of these exploratory talks with the [party] board members and decide whether to move on to the coalition talks stage,” Celik said.

He added: “The meetings have been going on in a very open and comfortable environment, turning at times into brainstorming sessions where everybody shares their opinion.”

The talks have been ongoing since July 13. Davutoglu also met the leaders of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

He has less than three weeks in which to form a government around the AK Party. If he is unable to form a coalition, tradition dictates that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should offer the second-placed party - the CHP - the chance to create an administration. If this fails, a fresh election will be called for late November.

The last coalition talks in Turkey were held 16 years ago when Bulent Ecevit’s Democratic Left Party formed a government with two other parties that lasted until 2002.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ağustos 2015, 10:18