As one of the founders of the Genar research institute, I am glad to note that we have been conducting comprehensive social and political research for the past two decades. Constantly updating our data on Turkey's political sociology, we have been successful in carrying out insightful evaluations on the ever-changing social and political life in our country. Thanks to these field research studies, our social and political analyses have been much more realistic in comparison to those made by "armchair scholars."
Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, issues of domestic politics have always been more important than those of foreign politics, simply because the new political regime was founded in opposition to Turkey's political and cultural tradition.
During the 17 years of the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) time in power, the main concerns of political opposition have largely revolved around the possibility of toppling the AK Party government and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Instead of focusing on political and social issues, the opposition parties have always concentrated their energy on discussing the possible ways of removing the AK Party from power.
Today, the political intellectuals from opposition parties mainly argue that that the AK Party's political power has been worn-out by asserting the following stereotypical arguments:
Floating voters constitute 30% of the Turkish constituency and 25% of the Turkish voters support the foundation of a new political party. The political support of the AK Party government has largely been diminished.
Yet, the overall data we have collected in our recent research opposes these arguments and invites the opposition parties to lower and revise their political expectations.
First and foremost, the sum of the votes of the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) appear to remain at the rate of 51-52%, which confirms the fact that the ruling People's Alliance preserves the electoral support it acquired in the presidential elections.
Although the Republican People's Party (CHP) succeeded in winning the local elections in metropolitan municipalities, its voting rate of 26% continues to remain within its sociological borders. For the rest of the oppositional bloc, the voting rates of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at 10-11% and the far-right Good Party (İP) at 7-8% remain more or less the same.
As there appears no fundamental change in Turkey's political spectrum, the political opposition has placed its hope on the newly founded Future Party of Ahmet Davutoğlu and the political party that Ali Babacan will establish in the near future.
Regarding the assertion that 25% of Turkish voters support the foundation of a new political party, one of our recent research studies conducted in December demonstrates that voters who support the foundation of new political parties belong to a large extent to the oppositional constituency. In other words, although the aforementioned political parties are being founded by politicians who broke away from the AK Party, the popular demand for the foundation of new political parties derives from the oppositional voters. How can we explain this seemingly contradictory electoral finding?
On the one hand, the oppositional voters have the obvious expectation that the newly founded political parties could diminish the voting rate of the ruling AK Party. On the other hand, as the demand for the foundation of new political parties remains at a low rate among the voters of the AK Party at 13%, the search for new solutions appears mainly in the oppositional "neighborhood."
As the support rate for the newly founded Future Party falls from 1% to 0.5%, Ali Babacan seems to be hesitating and continues to postpone the announcement of the foundation of his new political party.
Today, the majority of Turkish voters still support the leadership of President Erdoğan and the AK Party government. If the AK Party succeeds in reinterpreting these political discussions appropriately, its political life span will be prolonged.
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