“Erdogan is legally eligible to run for presidency”: Parliamentary Speaker
Turkey’s Parliamentary Speaker Mustafa Sentop, a senior member of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP said Erdogan is legally eligible to run for the office one more time, amid opposition parties’ arguments to the contrary.
“As of 2018, all citizens have been given the right to be re-elected twice, without hesitation. There is no legal dispute over the issue. This is Erdogan’s first term,” Sentop told reporters on Friday, Anadolu news agency said.
“There is no need for a parliamentary decision,” he said.
The six opposition parties who are working to put forward a joint candidate to run in Turkey’s upcoming presidential elections on Thursday said Erdogan cannot run for a third term unless Turkish parliament votes in favor of holding early elections.
In a joint statement following a nearly nine-hour meeting, the "Table of Six” said Turkey’s Constitution leaves no room for hesitation over the issue and it is not possible for Erdogan to run one more time in the presidential race due May 14, unless the parliament decides to renew the polls.
Sentop said there is no need for a parliamentary decision for Erdogan’s candidacy.
Article 101 of Turkey’s Constitution says that "The term of the president of the republic is five years. A person may be elected president of the republic for a maximum of two terms."
One exception on the other hand that was brought in with the 2017 referendum is that if parliament votes to renew elections during the president’s second term, he could run for another term.
However, Erdogan’s AKP says that Article 101 does not prevent Erdogan's candidacy, as it was applied for the first time in 2018 elections as Turkey adopted a presidential system of governance in a nationwide referendum held in 2017, that granted Erdogan vast executive powers.
Erdogan has assumed office in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 for a second term.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) earlier this week said Turkey’s Supreme Election Board’s (YSK) approving Erdogan’s candidacy would be a constitutional crime.