The Turkish people have always been interested in domestic politics, as the dynamic nature of Turkish politics raises their expectations for the resolution of problems in the fields of national security, economy, education and health. In the last two decades, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governments have seen widespread success in all these fields.
The coronavirus pandemic emerged as an unexpected crisis in the world. Fortunately, the AK Party governments made significant investments in the health sector. The long-standing problem of accessing health services has already been solved. Aiming at transforming Turkey into a center for health tourism, the project of building massive and high-tech city hospitals has strengthened our health sector. Turkey has also been one of the very few countries whose health sector was preparing itself for the emergence of a pandemic by working on various scenarios.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in China, Turkey has followed the process conscientiously by taking the necessary measures and learning from the experiences of other countries. Closing its airspace, strictly controlling its borders, and putting foreigners coming from abroad in quarantine were some of those early measures.
As the epidemic has rapidly turned into a pandemic, Turkey has succeeded to manage the crisis by taking dynamic measures. Instead of having difficulties in providing medical equipment, surgical and industrial masks, respirators, and hazmat suits, Turkey sent medical aid to almost 50 countries to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from the dynamic management of the pandemic, the strong infrastructure of the Turkish health sector enables Turkey to cope with the crisis successfully. Timely diagnosis and hospitalization of coronavirus patients, the strong infrastructure of radiology, qualified health care personnel and a successful treatment of patients have been the leading elements of Turkey’s success in its struggle against the pandemic.
Although oppositional political parties expected that the pandemic could bring damage to the AK Party government, Turkey’s new presidential system under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has given a good account of itself thanks to the dynamic management of the crisis. Turkey’s contribution to the international struggle against the pandemic has also been appreciated in the international realm.
Our recent research at the GENAR Research Institute demonstrates the positive implications of the AK Party government’s success in managing the coronavirus crisis in domestic politics: 75% of the subject group find the measures taken in the health sector as sufficient and adequate, while 78% consider Health Minister Fahrettin Koca's efforts in the management of the coronavirus pandemic successful. Likewise, 97% have conformed to the measures taken by the government and the scientific committee, while 60% believe the government will complete the process successfully.
Regarding the current voting rates of political parties, the voting rate of the People’s Alliance of the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is now higher than its voting rate during the presidential elections.
Although we will announce our research to the public on Monday, I would like to share one more finding related to the current voting rate of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Despite the fact that the CHP expects to raise its votes in national elections due to its success in local elections, our research demonstrates that the voting rate of the main opposition party falls in the 22% to 27% range.
In short, the AK Party government's dynamic and transparent management of the coronavirus outbreak combined with its contribution to international aid against the pandemic has consolidated and strengthened its public support in domestic politics.