Parallel ballots possible in Greece, Turkey

Speculation getting stronger that elections may be held in both countries on May 14 or 21

Parallel ballots possible in Greece, Turkey

A scenario stipulating Greece and Turkey may be heading for parallel elections is gaining ground. According to Bloomberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has May 14 in mind as the date for elections in Turkey. 

However, if the first polls, of proportional representation, in Greece are held on April 9, it is most likely that the second elections, under the new electoral law, will also be held on May 14 or, at the latest, on May 21.

The timing of the elections in Turkey interests Athens as it is possible that Erdogan may cause tension in order to gain electoral benefits. If the first round of Turkey’s presidential election is held on May 14, a winner is unlikely to emerge, as 50 percent plus one of the votes are required.

The country would thus head for a runoff election a week later, with Erdogan remaining at the helm of the country in the meantime. 

These seven days could prove “dangerous” in the sense that the possibility cannot be ruled out that the Turkish president may make some “aggressive” moves in the field of Greek-Turkish relations for political gain. 

Meanwhile, Ankara’s annoyance over the US awarding the F-35 fighter jets to Greece was conveyed by Turkish Foreign Mevlut Cavusoglu, who referred to an imbalance in US-Turkey relations. He accused Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez of being the obstacle to the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. 

Stressing that Ankara does not want to buy any military product from any country “in a way that will tie our hands,” Cavusoglu expressed his disagreement with the sale of fifth-generation fighters to Athens.

“The issue of giving the F-35 to Greece is a news story that we also read in the media. But in general we say the following in the US: The balance in Turkey-Greece relations is beginning to break down. An ally like America has to pay attention to these balances,” he said.

Cavusoglu said Ankara is not interested in “who is selling weapons to which side,” before adding: “What matters to us is our strength, what we do, what steps we take for our interests. This is what matters to us.”

The Turkish minister reportedly also referred to the potential procurement of F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits from Washington, saying that Ankara has reached “an agreement with the US administration in every sense. We expect it to pass [in Congress] uneventfully.”

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