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Turkey coalition talks fail, edging country closer to new elections

Published 13/08/2015

Turkish prime mnister Ahmet Davutoglu, left, shakes hands with the main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu prior to talks in Ankara (AP)
Turkish prime mnister Ahmet Davutoglu, left, shakes hands with the main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu prior to talks in Ankara (AP)

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu's efforts to forge a coalition alliance with the country's pro-secular party have failed, edging the country closer toward new elections.

Mr Davutoglu said that the two party leaders had not reached common ground for a power-sharing deal.

His Islamic-rooting ruling party lost its majority in elections in June, forcing it to seek a coalition alliance to remain in power. Elections are likely to be called if no government is formed by the end of next week.

The development pushes Turkey into political uncertainty at a time when it is faced with a sharp surge of violence and the country is taking a more front-line role in a US-led campaign against Islamic State (IS),

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reported to favour renewed elections in the autumn, in the hope that the ruling party, which he founded, can regain parliamentary majority. Officials say the party's grassroots is also opposed to a coalition with the pro-secular party.

In recent weeks, dozens have been killed in renewed clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels, while Turkish jets have conducted air raids on IS targets in Syria and Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq. US jets on Wednesday launched their first airstrikes against IS targets in Syria from a key Turkish air base.

On Wednesday, Mr Erdogan spoke of the need for a strong rule and said Mr Davutoglu "would not commit suicide" if no coalition is formed.

Delegations from the ruling party and Kemal Kilicdaroglu's secular party have held a series of meetings in search of common grounds for a partnership despite their deep-seated rivalries.

The sides said they reached consensus on many issues but news reports say differences remain on key issues, including foreign policy, education and the president's role.

Mr Kilicdaroglu accused Mr Erdogan earlier this month of obstructing the coalition efforts.

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