Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for snap parliamentary and presidential elections to be held on June 24, more than a year earlier than planned.
In an address at his presidential palace on Wednesday, Erdogan said the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency.
The date will still need to be confirmed by the election commission, he said, but preparations would begin.
His comments came after meeting Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who, a day earlier, had floated the prospect of early polls.
The parliamentary and presidential polls had previously been slated for November 2019.
The call for an early election comes as nationalist sentiment is running high over Turkey’s recent military operation in Syria that pushed Syrian Kurdish forces from a northern enclave.
Erdogan said during the address that the new system needs to be implemented quickly in order to deal with a series of challenges, including Turkey’s fight against Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq.
“Be it the cross-border operations in Syria, or incidents of historic importance centred in Syria and Iraq, they have made it imperative for Turkey to overcome uncertainties quickly,” Erdogan said.
Ankara has labelled the Syrian Kurdish fighters “terrorists”, saying they are affiliated with an outlawed Kurdish group fighting inside Turkey.
With the upcoming election, Turkey will switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one that will increase the powers of the president.
The system was changed in an April 2017 referendum that was narrowly won by the government’s “yes” camp.
The constitutional changes passed in the vote give the next president new powers to appoint vice presidents, ministers, high-level officials and senior judges. They also allow the president to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and impose states of emergency.