ANKARA - President Tayyip Erdogan indicated on Wednesday that elections will be held on May 14, sticking to his previous plan for the vote with a date just over three months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey.
"This nation will do what is necessary on May 14, God willing," Erdogan said in a speech to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party in parliament.
There had been conflicting signals over the likely timing of the presidential and parliamentary elections since last month's earthquake, with some suggesting they could be postponed until later in the year or could be held as scheduled on June 18.
Before the disaster, Erdogan's popularity had been eroded by the soaring cost of living and a slump in the lira. He has since faced a wave of criticism over his government's response to the deadliest quake in the nation's modern history.
Erdogan, aiming to extend his rule into a third decade, previously said he was bringing the votes forward to May to avoid holidays in June. Polls suggest they would present his biggest electoral challenge yet.
Doubts had been expressed about the ability of election authorities to prepare and make logistical arrangements for the voting of those affected in the quake zone, home to some 14 million people.
(Reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu, Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk, Alexandra Hudson)