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Erdoğan remains the most popular politician in Turkey: survey

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is still the most popular politician in Turkey despite two decades in power and facing one of the most challenging elections of his career in May, according to the results of a survey.

The “Turkey’s Pulse” survey, conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL in August, showed Erdoğan leading the list of most popular politicians in Turkey with the support of 34.6 percent of respondents.

Erdoğan was elected president again in a runoff election in May when he received 52.1 percent of the nationwide vote while his main rival, opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, got 47.8 percent.

Erdoğan won what many said was the “most challenging” election of his career due to an economic crisis in the country and two powerful earthquakes in February, which claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people and led to massive devastation in Turkey’s south and southeast.

According to the survey results, Erdoğan is followed by İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu as the second most popular politician, with 34.3 percent of respondents “liking” him.

İmamoğlu, who is from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), ended the years-long Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule in İstanbul when he won the mayoral election in 2019.

He is currently facing a political ban and a prison sentence on charges of insulting election officials. His conviction, which many say is politically motivated, is in the appeals process.

Turkey’s former intel chief and current foreign minister Hakan Fidan is listed as the third most popular politician with the support of 31.2 percent of respondents, followed by CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

Temel Karamollaoğlu, leader of the Islamic Felicity Party (SP), is listed at the bottom of the 12-person list, while Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş is not on the list at all despite the fact that Yavaş, along with İmamoğlu, was mentioned among the possible opposition presidential candidates.

Professor Özer Sencar, who owns MetroPOLL, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that İmamoğlu and Fidan left all politicians except Erdoğan behind with their level of popularity. He said he thinks Fidan’s increasing popularity is the most important outcome of the August survey.

Fidan’s time as undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), from 2010 to 2023, was marked by allegations of torture, enforced disappearances, abductions, renditions and the forced repatriation of numerous critics of President Erdoğan from abroad.

He was appointed foreign minister in a new cabinet chosen by Erdoğan following the elections in May.

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