Turkey's President Erdogan calls snap elections for June

The winner of the presidential election will be granted sweeping and controversial new powers

Turkey's President Erdogan calls snap elections for June

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Picture by: Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced snap elections in the country for June - more than a year ahead of schedule.

While there was no legal requirement for elections until November 2019, Mr Erdogan says parliamentary and presidential elections will be held on June 24th.

It came following a meeting between the Turkish president and his ally Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

In a statement quoted by Hurriyet Daily News, Mr Erdogan said: "The intensification of Turkey’s internal and external agenda has obliged us to remove the uncertainties in front of us through early elections."

He added: “Even though the president and the government are working in unison, the diseases of the old system confront us at every step we take."

New powers

The announcement comes a year after Mr Erdogan narrowly won a controversial referendum to grant sweeping new powers to Turkish presidents - although the changes will only come into effect after the next presidential election.

The new rules will mean the Turkish president is head of state, head of government, and head of the ruling party.

The office of prime minister will be abolished, while presidents will be able to draft a budget and issue decrees or appoint ministers without parliamentary approval.

International election monitors raised concerns about the referendum, highlighting claims of voting irregularities.

The referendum itself came in the wake of a failed coup attempt in the summer of 2016, which led to President Erdogan launching a crackdown against thousands of civil servants, journalists, military officials and other alleged opponents of the ruling party.

Mr Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) party currently has 316 out of 550 seats in the Turkish parliament.

Economic fears have been cited as one of the reasons behind the snap elections, as well as Turkey's ongoing role in the Syrian conflict.