Photo Credit: OIC / screen capture
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Istanbul, Dec. 13 2017

Turkish citizens will go to the polls on June 24 to elect — or re-elect — their nation’s leadership and members of parliament after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for snap elections to be held, a year and a half early.

The vote was originally not to be held until November 2019; however, Erdogan said the early elections were needed due to uncertainties in Syria. He was overwhelmingly backed by the parliament — but he still needs a 51-percent majority to be re-elected in the first round of the presidential election.

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The poll hastens the country’s change to a new system of government that eliminates the office of prime minister and grants sweeping new powers to the president. It also follows the sale of Dogan Holding, the largest media group in Turkey, to an entity that supports Erdogan and which thus places 90 percent of Turkey’s media under his control after the purges of the past two years.

The new system also makes it possible for Erdogan to run for two additional five-year terms following his current term. Erdogan has controlled Turkey since 2003.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.