In Turkey, support for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is crumbling

“Erdoğan sold state-owned companies, he put the country in debt up to his neck, but nobody cares”, indignant Mehmet from the back of his armchair, in the back of his store located not far from Taksim Square, in the center of Istanbul. The 40-year-old trader was a staunch supporter of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) party until the early 2010s. Today, he criticizes the ruling party.

A democratization of institutions first welcomed

Hailing from Erzurum, a conservative town in Anatolia, he recognizes the benefits of AKP social policy: “Before, there were endless queues in front of hospitals. My father, a beekeeper, was able to receive a lot of help for his activity. People with disabilities benefit from numerous benefits that change the lives of millions of people ”, he explains.

Coming to power in 2003 amid a serious financial crisis, the Islamo-conservative party achieved economic results that profoundly transformed the country throughout its first decade in business. The bringing into line of the army and the rapprochement with the European Union went in the direction of a democratization of the institutions, welcomed in the country and abroad.

The turning point of the crisis

But in eighteen years of rule, AKP support has crumbled. For Mehmet, the insulting attitude of one of the party officials towards the Koran was a point of no return. As for his relatives, also traditional AKP voters, many have distanced themselves in recent years: “There were the 17 to 25 December 2013 (corruption cases involving four ministers of the Erdoğan government, editor’s note), all the injustices that took place after July 15 2016 (purges that followed the coup attempt, Editor’s note). It also helped people stop voting AKP. And then, now, it’s the economic crisis. “

The Turkish lira continues to lose value against the dollar (12.50 pounds to the dollar against 1.86 in 2011) and inflation is flirting with 20%, according to official figures. The policy of welcoming Syrians is also a factor of discontent within the traditional AKP electorate. But although it recorded a clear decline in opinion polls, it remains the leading party in the country.

A base of 30% of favorable votes

“Today, 85% of Turks believe that economic policy is poorly managed, decrypts Özer Sencar, director of the MetroPoll polling institute, based in Ankara. However, the party maintains a base of more than 30% of favorable votes because voters do not trust the ability of the opposition to restore the economy. “

The analyst, who makes figures and statistics speak, particularly draws attention to the undecided: “The AKP has lost 9% of voting intentions since the 2018 legislative elections (42.6% of the vote, Editor’s note). Yet it is observed that these votes do not benefit the other parties. A section of voters who fail does not know who to turn to. ”, he explains.

The president ahead in several opinion polls

More than the AKP, it is the personality of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who continues to be emulated. However, several opinion polls now place potential opposition candidates ahead of the Turkish president in the event of a presidential election.

→ READ. Russia and Turkey, between rivalry and rapprochement

” The (Recep Tayyip Erdogan, NDLR) changed my life because it allowed the ban on the veil to be lifted ”, entrusts a lawyer of the Istanbul bar to The cross on condition of anonymity. For her, as for many veiled women, this reform in the administration in 2013 was a real turning point in her life. If the opposition were to come to power in the next elections, the lawyer fears a step backwards.

If Turkey’s interventionist foreign policy in its regional environment and its questioning of the international order flatter nationalist sentiments, the country’s economic situation remains the first concern of Turks in opinion polls. The legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 2023 will be decisive for the future of the trip.

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