Turkish official reportedly says elections may be postponed to November
While there is no official statement from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) or the government concerning any plan to postpone the elections after the earthquake on 6 February, an AKP official told Reuters that the "physical conditions" are not suitable to hold the elections in June.
The unnamed source said:
"Think about it, how will you put the ballot boxes in places like Urfa, Hatay, or elsewhere? Is it possible? We have a state of emergency now, and the Turkish Grand National Assembly should support this. There must be some postponement."
The official also said that November seemed like a good time to hold the elections, adding:
"Some people shouldn't make it look like we are trying to avoid the elections. And we may be faced with a whole different situation if the opposition decides to turn it into a challenge."
The official admitted that the earthquake may erode the popular support for AKP, and said:
"People are suffering. They lost their beloved ones, their wives and husbands, children, parents, lost their properties, home, everything. They will want to make somebody pay under these conditions. But that was one of the worst earthquakes in world history. Twin earthquakes struck within a matter of hours. So they should have some understanding. People's wounds should be mended, they should be provided with a new life. These require some time."
A government official on the other hand said that the elections cannot be held in time because of the earthquake's physical impacts.
"Even if we do not make an assessment in political terms, the physical conditions are no more suitable. Where will they place the ballot boxes? Where will they place the electoral lists? Who will come and control? Life should return to normal. Is there an elections atmosphere in the country any more? Who will hold a campaign, and where will they do it? Will the opposition say, 'This is a good time to corner the government?'"
The government official said likewise that the elections could be postponed to November, and that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ally Devlet Bahceli would make an assessment and say the last word.
A co-founder of AKP, Bulent Arinc, said a day earlier that the presidential and parliamentary elections should be postponed to 2024, and held alongside the local elections.