Turkey will hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June, brought forward by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from November 2019.
He has run Turkey since 2002 and will seek five more years with beefed up powers approved in a referendum last year.
The idea of an early poll was initially proposed by nationalist allies.
Mr Erdogan said in televised speech the country needed the new election to rid it of “the diseases of the old system”.
“Developments in Syria and elsewhere have made it urgent to switch to the new executive system in order to take steps for our country’s future in a stronger way,” the president said in a live broadcast.
Mr Erdogan said he had made the decision after speaking to the head of the nationalist MHP party, Devlet Bahceli, who is expected to form an alliance with Mr Erdogan’s ruling AK Party in the parliamentary polls.
After repeatedly ruling out early elections, the government wheeled out its coalition partner on Tuesday to make a U-turn, before staging a “discussion” on Wednesday and confirming a date even earlier than expected.
So why the rush? Cynics would say President Erdogan is trying to clip the wings of his main rival, Meral Aksener, who formed a new right-wing party just months ago.
And with the Turkish lira having reached record lows this year – it’s the world’s worst performing emerging-markets currency – a yawning current account deficit and stubbornly high inflation, Mr Erdogan possibly wanted to pre-empt any economic crash.