Turkey’s AKP Says Odds Even for Coalition or Early Vote

Turkey is just as likely to forge a coalition government as it is to hold a fresh election, the ruling Justice & Development Party or AKP said following talks with the country’s largest opposition group.

“The odds of a government partnership and odds of an early election are fifty-fifty,” Minister of Culture and Tourism Omer Celik said in Ankara, after leading preliminary discussions with the opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP. “The process itself is as precious as the result,” he said.

Parliamentary elections in June saw AKP lose its overall majority for the first time since 2002, forcing it to seek coalition partners. The parties have until mid-August to form a government or face the prospect of fresh elections.

With two of Turkey’s opposition groups distancing themselves from an alliance with the AKP, focus has turned to discussions between the ruling party, which has its roots in political Islam, and the secular CHP.

“Turkey is in need of a strong, serious government,” CHP’s Deputy Chairman Haluk Koc said in a press conference on Tuesday. “The CHP won’t be the one to leave Turkey without a government.”

Both parties described Tuesday’s talks as technical discussions ahead of full talks between delegations early next week that could last about two weeks. Party leaders will then decide whether “next level” talks should begin, Celik said.

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