Turkey’s Erdogan declares early elections on June 24

Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called a snap presidential and parliamentary election on June 24, more than a year earlier than planned, saying the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency.

Bringing the elections forward means that they will take place under a state of emergency that has been in place since a July 2016 attempted coup and was extended by parliament on Wednesday for another three months.

In 15 years of rule as prime minister and later president, Erdogan has transformed a poor country at the eastern edge of Europe into a major emerging market. Yet Turkey’s rapid economic growth has also come with increased authoritarianism, as Erdogan has accelerated a crackdown on dissent since the failed coup.

Erdogan and his ministers had previously dismissed the prospect of early polls. Last year he narrowly won a referendum to change the constitution and create an executive presidency, which will come into effect with the next presidential vote.

He said Turkey’s military operations in neighboring Syria “and the developments in our region of historic importance, have made it mandatory to remove the election issue from our agenda”.