July 14, 2015 / 1:55 PM / in 2 years

Turkish PM says nationalists plan to stay out of government

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s nationalist opposition does not want to share power in a government with the ruling AK Party, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday, dealing a blow to his efforts to find a junior coalition partner.

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gestures during a news conference at his ruling AK Party (AKP) headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, July 13, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Davutoglu made the comments after meeting with Devlet Bahceli, leader of the National Movement Party (MHP), initially seen as a likely coalition partner after the AKP lost its majority in a June 7 parliamentary election.

“They expressed their intention to remain outside a government alliance,” Davutoglu told a news conference, although he said the meeting had been friendly and that fresh talks could be held if necessary.

Turkey’s second largest party, the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), now looks like the AKP’s most likely partner if an agreement can be reached. Otherwise Turkey could face a fresh election in the autumn.

Ahead of the coalition talks, Davutoglu had warned opposition parties not to question the role of President Tayyip Erdogan in the political process.

Opposition parties have signaled they want Erdogan to keep out of daily politics if they join any coalition government - a direct challenge to the president, who wants to turn his largely ceremonial role into a powerful executive post.

Erdogan warned late on Monday that the nation was growing impatient and that a government should be formed quickly or else another election would become necessary.

Should political parties be unable to agree a working coalition by late August, Erdogan has the right to call a snap election, widely seen as his preferred option as it may offer a chance for the AKP to regain its majority.

Reporting by Ercan Gurses; Writing by Daren Butler and Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall

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