Turkey’s general election looks likely to push Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of an all-powerful presidency further from his reach, and usher in a period of turbulence as its most divisive modern leader jockeys to maintain his dominance.
Barred by the constitution from party politics as head of state, Erdogan has nonetheless campaigned across Turkey before the June 7 parliamentary vote in a sign of how much he has riding on the outcome.
“You will not take me away from these stages, you will not silence me,” he told a rally in the central city of Kirikkale this month, explaining why the presidency should get greater powers.
Constitutionally, most authority has lain with the Turkish prime minister, an office Erdogan held from 2003 to 2014. But since becoming head of state last year, he has pushed hard for an executive presidency akin to the United States or France.
However, the AK Party which he founded looks unlikely to win two thirds of the seats in parliament, the majority needed to change the constitution without putting the plan to a referendum.