A debate on ‘Early elections, human rights and the political situation in Turkey’ has been scheduled for Thursday 7 June 2018 in the Main Chamber. The debate was nominated by the Backbench Business Committee after a representation from Joan Ryan MP, Tommy Sheppard MP and Jim Shannon MP.Jump to full report >>
Presidential and Parliamentary elections will take place in Turkey on 24 June.
The next Presidential race was originally scheduled to be held in November 2019, but in a surprise move President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called early elections for both institutions.
These elections will be the first to be held under Turkey’s new constitutional arrangements, which were narrowly approved in a referendum in April 2017.
The changes will turn Turkey’s current Parliamentary system into a Presidential one. The President will head the executive branch of government, and will have powers to issue decrees with the force of law, prepare budgets, dissolve parliament, and appoint ministers and some top judges.
The election will take place under a state of emergency that has been imposed since July 2016, when a military coup was launched against President Erdoğan. The Government blamed the coup on followers of the exiled Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. The state of emergency suspends some of the normal functions of the constitution and derogates from many provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.
A recent report from the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, warns that the state of emergency has facilitated the deterioration of the human rights situation and the erosion of the rule of law in Turkey. It says:
Other key findings in the report include:
There are six candidates running for President. The four most significant ones are:
While polls indicate Mr Erdogan may struggle to achieve the more than 50% of the vote he requires for a first-round victory, he is expected to beat any candidate in the second round run-off. Analysts believe the state of emergency does not allow a level playing field for opposition candidates. The AKP government also recently announced a $6 billion incentives package, including cash payments to pensioners, which opponents have denounced as “election bribery.”
Opposition candidates have complained of media blackouts of their campaigns, and questioned the integrity of the state body – the RTUK which is supposed enforce Turkey’s strict laws on fair media coverage during elections.
In the Parliamentary elections, the four main opposition parties, the Republican People's Party (CHP), Iyi (Good) Party, the Islamist Felicity Party and the small centre-right Democrat Party, have banded together to form a coalition. This move will allow them to get over the high threshold required of parties to enter the parliament – 10% of the vote. Erdogan’s AK Party have entered a coalition with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
 United Nations- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Turkey: UN report details extensive human rights violations during protracted state of emergency’, 20 March 2018
 ‘Turkish opposition parties to sign four-way election alliance’, Middle East Eye, 2 May 2018.
 ‘Erdogan Challengers Decry Media Blackout Before Election’, VOA News, 9 May 2018.
Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0135
Authors: Timothy Robinson; John Curtis