Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated, on Thursday, that he will bid for re-election next year.
Erdoğan, who led Turkish politics for almost two decades, has turned the once-ceremonial post of president into the nexus of executive power.
“The elections will be held in June next year,” Erdoğan told supporters in the Aegean port city of Izmir, dismissing speculation of an early ballot. “Now, I am saying that I am the candidate of the People’s Alliance.”
Furthermore, he challenged Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition, to reveal the presidential candidate for the six-party camp of rivals called the Nation Alliance.
“If you dare, announce your candidacy, or your candidate, this very day,” Erdoğan said of Kilicdaroglu and his bloc.
Ankara has been opposing Sweden and Finland’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) application, which sparked a crisis within the alliance.
In return, French President Emmanuel Macron held a phone conversation with Erdoğan, urging him to “respect Finland and Sweden’s sovereign decision to join NATO.” The French President further hoped for a “solution be quickly found to lift the Turkish veto.”
The Elysee Palace released a statement after the phone call, “The President of the Republic stressed the importance of respecting the sovereign choice of these two countries, resulting from a democratic process and intervening in response to the evolution of their security environment.”