ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has begun meeting with opposition leaders to find a coalition partner following June’s inconclusive general election. The AK Party leader's first meeting was with the center left CHP. The two party's are the largest and at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but there is increasing calls for a “grand coalition."
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he and Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the CHP agreed on the need to quickly form a strong coalition government. Davutoglu stressed the talks were only preliminary and a second round is set for next week.
Political scientist Yuksel Taskin of Istanbul’s Marmara University says a coalition between the country's two largest parties will be difficult.
"Among CHP voters there is a strong dislike of coalition with AKP, despite certain people around Kilicdaroglu who would be very happy to enter into coalition," he said.
The opportunity for CHP to be in a position of power for the first time in more than four decades is seen as an incentive for the center left to form a coalition.
But according to analysts there is strong resistance to a such a coalition among AKP members, many of whom are drawn from religious sensitive Muslim voters. The pro-secular CHP was once amongst strongest supporters of restrictions on the wearing of Islamic dress in state buildings.
Political columnist Kadri Gursel of Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper says there are compelling reasons for an AKP-CHP coalition.
"Any coalition between CHP, will have a bigger social base and it would ease the tension in the country if not ending. And this coalition also will limit the power of Mr. Erdogan," said Gursel. "The president will not be able anymore impose its will and power on AKP."
Along with calling for a reopening of graft investigations into former AKP ministers, CHP leader Kilicdaroglu has stipulated that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not interfere into the day to day running of government, as key demands for any coalition.
Political scientist Taskin says even if CHP demands are met it, the government will be difficult for the center left party.
"For CHP also there is this difficulty. Many state organs would be dominated by different cliques of the right. Conservative, nationalist, Islamists cliques are quite predominant in the state bureaucracy," he said.
On Tuesday, Davutoglu will continue his visits with opposition leaders, meeting with Devlet Bahceli the nationalist MHP.