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Editorials Erdogan should focus on Turkey’s problems, not his grandiose ambitions

An handout picture taken on August 28, 2015 in Ankara and released by the Turkish Presidential Press Office shows Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) attending a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) at the Presidential palace, to submit a list of interim Cabinet ministers for presidential approval. AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PALACE PRESS OFFICE / KAYHAN OZER. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PALACE PRESS OFFICE / KAYHAN OZER" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==KAYHAN OZER/AFP/Getty Images

KAYHAN OZER/AFP/Getty Images

If at first you don't succeed in June, try, try again in November, with a new election.

Such, at least, is the reasoning of a disappointed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to win a parliamentary majority two months ago.

Mr. Erdogan has not taken the time since the election to seriously work on a coalition, or on an informal understanding with one or more other parties to make a minority parliament viable. Nor is there a particular case to be made that circumstances have changed so dramatically as to require him to seek another mandate so soon.

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On the contrary, Mr. Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu should be concentrating on the crisis on Turkey's southeastern border: that is, the Syrian civil war and the destructive self-styled Islamic State – which is one of the main causes of the refugee crisis gripping Europe and the entire Mediterranean region.

Instead, Mr. Erdogan continues to focus on his efforts to make himself into the equivalent of a Canadian governor-general and an "executive" president all at the same time. He can only do so by a constitutional amendment passed by a supermajority in the Turkish parliament, a non-starter after the results of the June election.

He should renounce his grandiose ambition and make a serious attempt at an alliance with the Republican People's Party – the secular, nationalistic party in the tradition of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic – or with the Peoples' Democracy Party, essentially a Kurdish party, which has recently found a following elsewhere in the country among secular liberals. Or both, for that matter.

Mr. Erdogan's frustration in trying to fulfill his overweening ambition has now isolated him. He would serve his country and himself much better if he renounced his quasi-monarchic vision. The larger politics of an extremely troubled region should take priority. Another election won't help.

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