Turkish PM Davutoglu Kicks off Coalition-building Talks

Ahmet DavutogluTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu began coalition talks on Monday with the second-placed CHP party after last month’s election which saw his ruling party lose its overall majority.

Davutoglu’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to secure enough votes in the June 7 election to form a government alone, for the first time since it came to power in 2002.

The AKP has 258 seats in the new parliament, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) 132, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) hold 80 apiece.

Davutoglu met on Monday with CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu but no agreement is expected this week during the Eid feast marking the end of holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“This is not a coalition negotiation but preliminary talks for the sides to understand each other,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara after a more than one-and-a-half hour meeting with Kilicdaroglu.

He hailed “very sincere and friendly” talks with the CHP team.

Davutoglu said he told Kilicdaroglu that Turkey needs a government as soon as possible a view shared by the CHP leader.

CHP spokesman Haluk Koc said “mutual trust” should be built between the two parties for talks to be successful.

“Turkey’s need for a strong government has been emphasised,” said Koc, who also referred to talks as “preliminary”.

The prime minister is due to meet with the MHP on Tuesday and the HDP Wednesday
A coalition between the AKP and the nationalist MHP is seen by far the most likely option because both parties share a core conservative voter base in the centre of the country.

Both the AKP and HDP have excluded joining forces.

If efforts to form a coalition within the constitutional limit of 45 days are unsuccessful, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can call snap elections.