UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES FROM MHP HEAD, ADDS REACTION FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT, DEPUTY PREMIER, HEADLINE CHANGED, EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) – Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli on Tuesday called for early elections in Turkey on Aug. 26.
Speaking at his party's parliamentary group in capital Ankara, Bahceli said: "It should be known that the MHP wants early elections after the adjustment laws are enacted.
"Electing the president on Aug. 26…is the most rational and reasonable way forward."
On April 16, 2017, Turkey held a referendum during which the majority of voters decided in favor of an 18-article bill to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system.
The parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled to take place in November 2019.
Later, speaking to journalists before his parliamentary group meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would meet Bahceli on Wednesday.
Also, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters that the MHP's call for early elections would be evaluated.
Bahceli also called for punishing Bashar al-Assad after the suspected chemical attack in Douma in Syria's Eastern Ghouta.
– Assad must face action
The opposition party leader said: "Assad should be punished. There is nothing to say for it."
He said Assad must face consequences for his regime’s murders.
Bahceli's remarks came after the U.S., U.K., and France early Saturday launched airstrikes on alleged Assad regime chemical weapons facilities in Syria.
He also criticized the U.S.-led coalition for being late in "hearing the humanitarian crimes in Syria".
"Using chemical weapons is surely a crime against humanity. While the more major incidents had been experienced in Syria, where were the heads of the U.S., U.K. and France? What was the UN doing?" he asked.
"They have other aims under the guise of punishment for the [Syrian] regime," said Bahceli.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, according to UN figures.