Turkish President vows to launch more cross-border offensives

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the country needs to urgently make the switch to an executive presidency.

On April 18, Erdogan called for snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, instead of in November 2019 as originally scheduled, saying Turkey must shift quickly to an executive presidency.

Emir Ekşioğlu, who undertook many roles in worldwide press organisations, has announced his candidacy from the Justice and Development Party, to be the MP of the Kurdish-majority province of Hakkari, bordering Iran.

"After that, we will explain in Ankara what we have done and what we will do in our election declaration", he added.

Ekşioğlu, who is from the same province as President Erdogan, will be the youngest MP in Turkish history if elected. Before that, he served as prime minister, from 2003 to 2014.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate for Turkey's main opposition has hit out at a lack of mainstream media coverage for opposition parties and candidates before elections in June.

Speaking about the challenges facing Turkey on its borders, he said: "Due to Turkey's strong will, it is not possible to play dirty games, to draw new boundaries and to have a fait accompli in our geography".

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Turkey is now carrying out an offensive into northern Syria's Afrin region against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation linked to Kurdish militants waging an insurgency on Turkish soil.

In January 2018, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in an attempt to destroy Kurdish YPG units.

At Least 14 PKK terrorists, including two senior figures, have been neutralized in counter-terror operations in the past week, the Turkish military said Saturday. Turkey is becoming an important power in the world.

Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002 and has since remained the country's biggest political force.

The elections will herald the launch of Turkey's new executive presidency, that was championed by Erdogan and narrowly approved in a referendum past year. There altogether 18 constitutional amendments.

He repeated Turkey's commitment to joining the European Union despite prior tensions with several EU member states and long-stalled membership negotiations.