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Turkey's main opposition lays out coalition terms: Erdogan must stop 'meddling'

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's opposition parties should form the next government, the largest of them said Monday, and also laid out terms for joining any coalition government, including forcing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to exceed his constitutional powers.

The ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, which Erdogan founded, came out first in Turkey's June 7 elections but lost its parliamentary majority. The three other parties represented in parliament together got close to 60 percent of the vote.

Erdogan is widely expected to ask Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a coalition with one of the other parties or seek a fragile minority government. New elections could be held if the parties fail for form a government.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said his center-left Republican People's Party was not ruling out any party but said he believed the opposition parties — "the 60 percent bloc" — should build the next government.

Kilicdaroglu outlined the principles he believed coalition partners should adhere to, including ensuring that Erdogan — a dominant political figure who ruled as prime minister for more than a decade until 2014 — does not "meddle in everything." He also said Erdogan should not be involved in the coalition-building talks.

"The president has to be pulled back within the constitutional limits," Kilicdaroglu said.

Kilicdaroglu also cited fighting corruption, changing Turkey's foreign policy and media freedoms as conditions for a coalition partnership.

Flouting the constitutional rule that presidents should be neutral, Erdogan had campaigned relentlessly for a victory for the ruling party, in the hope that it would get a supermajority that would allow it to switch Turkey to a presidential system, giving him executive powers.

Since becoming president in August 2014, Erdogan has chaired Cabinet meetings by invoking seldom-used powers, allowing him to be directly involved in the running of government.

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