Leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli has said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can run in the presidential election of 2023 and that there’s no legal obstacle standing in the way of his candidacy, the Birgün daily reported.
Bahçeli’s remarks came during a meeting with his party’s lawmakers at the weekend during which he focused on claims suggesting that Erdoğan, an election ally of the MHP, is not eligible to run for president again.
Erdoğan was first elected president for a five-year renewable term in 2014 by a direct vote under the parliamentary system. Turkey switched to presidential system of governance with a referendum in 2017 and held snap presidential and parliamentary polls in 2018, when Erdoğan was elected president again. Under the presidential system of governance, a person can be elected president for a five-year renewable term if the election is held as scheduled.
There are some who claim that Erdoğan is not legally eligible to run in the 2023 presidential election because he already served for two terms and cannot run for a third. Ertuğrul Günay, a former minister who later parted ways with Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), recently said if the 2023 election is held as scheduled, Erdoğan cannot run for president again according to the Turkish Constitution. Günay, who is also lawyer, said Erdoğan can only run for president again if Turkey holds a snap election.
Bahçeli said Erdoğan was elected president only once under the presidential system of governance, so there is no legal obstacle before his running again for president.
The MHP leader also said if there was a need for a constitutional amendment to change the election of the president to three renewable terms, his party and the AKP would do their best to make that happen.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu recently said his party would have no objection to Erdoğan running for a third term.
In the meantime, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, from the AKP, said Erdoğan will run for a second term under the presidential system of governance in 2023, so there is no problem regarding his candidacy.
“There is no legal debate about this. A second-time candidacy is in question, not a third. I will release an academic paper about the legal aspect of this issue. I can say that the debates about this issue stem from a lack of knowledge,” said Şentop, who is also a professor of law.