Baykal: Meeting Invitation Came Suddenly

lllTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held a surprise meeting with a senior opposition figure as part of purported efforts to form a coalition government.

The two-hour unannounced meeting on Wednesday in Ankara saw Erdogan sit down with Deniz Baykal of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority in recent polls, meaning that Turkey would emerge out of a decade of single-party rule. He is now forced to engage in a coalition with another party or try to rule the politically divided nation with a minority government.

Another option could be snap elections, but Erdogan’s Wednesday meeting with Baykal showed that he and AKP are likely considering a coalition, maybe even of the grand variety.

“I saw that Mr President has an open understanding for all kinds of coalitions,” Baykal said.
The recent parliamentary elections ended disappointingly for Erdogan as he had reportedly been seeking an absolute majority to go ahead with his plans of establishing a US-style presidential system in Turkey. Erdogan’s AKP won 258 seats in the 550-seat parliament, the CHP 132, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) gained 80 each.


Baykal said he would now inform the CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the details of the meeting. He stopped short of clearly saying that an agreement had been reached between him and Erdogan on a potential coalition between the two major parties.

“The political parties need to talk about the issue of a coalition. The presidency is not going to prevent a consensus,” he said.