Support for Turkey's reconciliation process on the rise, poll indicates
by Sena Alkan
ISTANBULMar 09, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Sena Alkan
Mar 09, 2015 12:00 am
The latest poll conducted by the Ankara-based Objective Research Center (ORC) in March has indicated that support for the reconciliation process between Ankara and Kurds is around 67.5 percent and 32.5 percent of those surveyed said that they do not support it. According to the poll, which was conducted in 35 provinces with the participation of 3,160 citizens, support for the reconciliation process is increasing compared to the past months - in October 2014, support was around 54.3 percent. Previous polls by the same research institution have indicated that support is continuously increasing.
The reconciliation process that aims to end the decades-long conflict with the PKK in eastern Turkey is in the home stretch with the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan's call on the PKK to lay down its arms in an attempt to successfully finalize the process. Launched with ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) initiatives, the reconciliation process seeks to stop the bloodshed in eastern and southeastern Turkey and boost investments in the region. The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 to carve out a separate Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey. Thousands of people lost their lives in clashes between the state and the terrorist organization.
The survey also took the pulse of the nation concerning the presidential system that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan aims to switch to. Some 62.5 percent of those surveyed have heard of the presidential system. Out of those who have knowledge of the presidential system, 70.2 percent support a presidential system and 29.8 percent oppose it.
With only months left before the June 7 general elections, the AK Party has stepped up its efforts to shift the Turkish political structure toward what it believes to be a more comprehensive and applicable presidential system. The presidential system model on which the party works is expected to be based has been said to expedite decision-making processes between state mechanisms. Reportedly, the AK Party is not interested in a bicameral legislature or the navette system used in France since it is reminiscent of the 1960 constitution enacted after the 1960 coup, which was the first coup in modern Turkish history where the constitution introduced a senate to form a bicameral system. The party is working on a unicameral system instead of this model.
When the survey asked about the Domestic Security Reform Package that the government seeks to enact in an attempt to balance security and freedom after the October 5-6 Kobani protests that morphed into violent clashes between pro- and anti-PKK groups and killed dozens of people, 81 percent of respondents said that they know what the security package is while 19 percent do not.
Out of the 81 percent who know about the package, 69.3 percent support it and 30.7 percent oppose it.
Concerning the June 7 general elections for which political parties have stepped up their efforts to garner support, the poll said that 50 percent of those surveyed indicated they would vote for the AK Party, 23.2 percent would support the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), 13.5 percent would vote for the second opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), whose votes hover around the 10 percent threshold and are in a critical situation for the election, would not be able to pass the threshold with 8.4 percent of survey respondents indicating they would vote for the party.
The poll indicated that among these four political parties represented in Parliament the AK Party is the only one whose votes will increase since the August 10 presidential election from 47.1 percent to a predicted 50 percent. The HDP, CHP and MHP's votes for the general elections are projected to decrease with the HDP's 10.2 percent voting rate from the presidential election lowering to 8.4, the CHP's votes down to 23.2 percent from 25 percent and the MHP's votes down to 13.5 percent from 14.2 percent.