Turkey's ruling party appealed to parliament Wednesday to declare early general elections to be held June 24. According to the AP, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan disclosed the decision in response to secularists' fears that his administration, by proposing a candidate for president with a background in the Islamic political movement, was moving the state toward Islamic rule that would undermine their Western way of life.
By holding early elections for a government with a fresh mandate, Erdogan hopes to resolve the current political crisis. "God willing, Turkey will get back on track," Erdogan told reporters late Tuesday. Erdogan added he would push for a referendum if necessary on a constitutional amendment allowing the president to be elected by popular vote.
"If we cannot get the Parliament to choose a president, we will take this subject to the people and we will find a way to open presidential elections to our people," he said.
In a setback for his government, the country's highest court on Tuesday halted the parliamentary vote for president that looked set to elect the ruling party's candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
On his part, Gul said he would not withdraw his candidacy despite the ruling and urged parliamentary elections to be held "as soon as possible."