Turkey swears in new parliament with Erdogan coalition in power

Turkey swears in new parliament with Erdogan coalition in power
New Turkish lawmakers began taking their oaths in parliament on Saturday, as Erdogan's AK Party is forced into coalition with the hardline MHP to achieve a majority
3 min read
07 July, 2018
President Erdogan greets the crowd on the first day in parliament since the polls [Getty]

Lawmakers on Saturday began taking their oaths in Turkey's new parliament, with the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan needing to rely on nationalist allies to ensure an overall majority.

Legislative polls were held simultaneously on June 24 with presidential polls, where Erdogan won a new mandate to extend his 15 year tenure as Turkey's leader under a new system that gives him greater powers.

But Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was less dominant in the parliamentary elections, winning 295 seats and falling slightly short of an outright majority in the 600 MP chamber.

To ensure a majority it will have to rely on its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which won 49 seats in a far stronger performance than was predicted.

Analysts say the MHP could push the AKP into a harder line on Kurdish issues and foreign policy.

Opposition will be led by the secular Republican People's Party (CHP) which won 146 seats in the parliament.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party  (HDP), which has been hit by a spate of detentions of its top figures, is the second largest opposition party with 67 seats.

The right-wing Iyi (Good) Party of Meral Aksener enters parliament for the first time after it was set up in October last year with 43 seats.

'Fallen short'

In a speech to the AKP MPs ahead of the session, Erdogan said they had emerged as the largest party but nonetheless had "fallen short of the target" and needed to "correctly evaluate" the results. 

The new MPs began the lengthy process of taking their oaths individually in a session chaired by senior Good Party member Durmus Yilmaz as temporary speaker. The process of swearing in each MP is expected to last until late into the night.

The AKP is expected to nominate outgoing Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, whose post is being extinguished under the new system, as permanent speaker but this has yet to be confirmed.

The new parliament is set to include some colourful characters as the AKP seeks to bring in figures from outside politics.

Former Turkey international footballer Alpay Ozalan, who famously taunted David Beckham in a notorious Euro 2004 qualifier, has been elected for the AKP.

Also elected for the AKP is the former world Supersport motorcycle champion Kenan Sofuoglu, who raised eyebrows by showing for the ceremony in a Lamborghini sports car.

A high-profile new MP for the HDP is the investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, who was handed a seven-and-a-half year jail sentence in April along with other staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet daily but is free pending appeal. 

Erdogan is himself to be sworn in at parliament on Monday, followed by a lavish ceremony at his palace marking the transition to the new presidential system. He said 22 presidents and 17 premiers of foreign states were expected to attend.