Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has vowed that his country will launch new military operations “to clear its borders from terrorists”. President Erdogan was speaking during a rally in Istanbul, as he unveiled his party’s manifesto ahead of next month’s snap elections, scheduled for June 24th.
On the day, the country will hold both presidential and parliamentary elections, more than a year before it was originally planned.
Erdogan, who is also the chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said that the new cross-border operations will be similar to its previous “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch” army campaigns.
With the upcoming election, Turkey will switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one that will increase the powers of the president. The system was changed in a referendum held in April last year, that was narrowly won by the government’s “yes” camp.
The constitutional changes passed in the vote give the next president new powers to appoint vice presidents, ministers, high-level officials and senior judges. They also allow the president to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and impose states of emergency.
Last month, a report by the European Commission said that under the state of emergency, more than 150,000 people had been taken into custody, 78,000 arrested and over 110,000 civil servants dismissed. Turkish authorities say that some 40,000 have been reinstated in the process. Turkey’s Western allies have repeatedly condemned the Turkish government’s detentions and purges after the coup attempt, with local and international rights groups accusing Ankara of using the putsch bid as a pretext to silence opposition in the country.
Ankara blames its western allies for not understanding and taking seriously the “terrorist threat” on Turkey coming from the movement of Gulen and PKK.