A survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPoll showed a decline in nationwide support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in November, local media reported on Friday, citing a column by journalist İsmail Saymaz on the Halk TV news website.
According to Saymaz, the results of MetroPoll’s survey showed that 29.6 percent of respondents said they would vote for the ruling AKP if a general election were to be held in November, evidencing a decline in the party’s votes since 31.9 percent of respondents gave the same answer in the poll conducted a month earlier.
MetroPoll surveys had shown the AKP’s electoral support at 25.2 percent in April, 26.5 percent in May, 27.6 percent in June, 28.2 percent in July, 28.7 percent in August, 29 percent in September and 31.9 percent in October.
November’s survey further found that the AKP’s ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would receive only 6.7 percent, which is also a decline in the party’s electoral support following five months of increase in its votes.
In a November election, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), its ally, the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party, and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) would have garnered 20 percent, 9.1 percent and 10.3 percent of the vote, respectively, the columnist said, adding that undecided votes would have amounted to 19.1 percent, a 7 point increase compared to the previous month.
Citing Professor Özer Sencar, a political observer and owner of MetroPoll, Saymaz said the decline in votes for the AKP-MHP bloc was due to the AKP’s recent visit to the HDP and the support the MHP leader subsequently expressed for the move in addition to the economic crisis facing the nation.
Three representatives from the AKP, including Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, met with officials from the HDP last month to talk about a proposal from Erdoğan to hold a referendum to guarantee a woman’s right to wear a headscarf in public venues, an idea the president has since backed away from.
The visit raised eyebrows since Erdoğan and the AKP, in addition to the MHP, accuse the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and also accuse other opposition parties of collaborating with it from time to time.
The PKK, recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
The party denies links to the PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to President Erdoğan’s 19-year rule.
Following the visit, Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right MHP, unexpectedly expressed no anger over the visit of his election ally to the pro-Kurdish party and said that it was a “very natural and correct step” for the AKP delegation to visit all the political parties that have a group in parliament.
The MetroPoll survey also asked the respondents’ take on the visit, with 41.5 percent of them saying they found it to be a “negative” move and 29.8 percent thinking it was “positive.”