Erdoğan eyes early elections as political problems grow - analyst

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could call snap nationwide elections, Ömer Taşpınar, a senior fellow at U.S.-based think tank the Brookings Institution, wrote in the Asia Times on Monday.

Turkey could be headed for the polls well before elections are scheduled in 2023 due to the country's troubled economic circumstances, new breakaway parties established by former senior members of Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), the refugee problem and a worsening political crisis with the United States, Taşpınar said.

"All these factors indicate why Erdogan would be wise to call early elections,” Taşpınar said. “His only hope is to mobilise the nationalist vote before the economy and relations with the U.S. deteriorate even further.”

Erdoğan is still by far the country's most popular politician. But the AKP's loss of major cities such as Istanbul and Ankara in local elections this year, which came during a deep economic downturn, were seen as a serious blow to Erdoğan’s image of invincibility.

Turkey’s current election system stipulates that the winning candidate in a presidential election is required to garner more than 50 percent of the national vote.

"His (Erdoğan’s) chances of winning are not strong, but desperate times call for desperate measures," Taşpınar said.