Istanbul: Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu today met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to formally acknowledge he cannot form a coalition government, paving the way for new elections just months after June polls.
In line with procedure, Davutoglu was to return to Erdogan the mandate he received from the president on July 9 to begin coalition talks with opposition parties, the official Anatolia news agency said.
Their closed-door meeting began at 1700 GMT at Erdogan's presidential palace in Ankara, NTV television said.
With all possibilities exhausted before a August 23 deadline to form the new government, Turkey is now facing snap new polls and entering uncharted political territory.
In a major setback for Erdogan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its overall majority in the June 7 legislative polls for the first time since it came to power in 2002.
Davutoglu held coalition talks with the second-placed Republican People's Party (CHP) and third-placed Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) but failed to broker a deal with either.
According to the constitution, the AKP will be able to continue as a minority government until elections if a majority in parliament votes in favour of holding the early polls.
If however Erdogan uses his right to call the polls himself, a so-called "election government" will be formed until the polls, consisting of members from all four parties represented in parliament.
"Now all paths lead to the ballot box," pro-AKP columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in the Yeni Safak daily.
It will be the first time in Turkey's political history that the largest party has failed to form a coalition and repeat elections need to be held.
The AKP prides itself on providing Turkey with almost 13 years of stable one-party rule that have been a marked contrast to the chaotic coalitions and coups that marked political life before.