Pro-gov’t columnist claims Afrin operation increased AKP’s vote

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Abdülkadir Selvi, a columnist who is known to be close to the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has claimed that a military operation Turkey launched in the northern Syrian town of Afrin has led to an increase in the ruling party’s vote.

In his column in the Hürriyet daily on Monday, titled, “Striking results from opinion surveys,” Selvi wrote: “The confidence level in the state and the government increased by 8-9 points with the launch of the Afrin operation. Afrin [operation] has been likened to the July 15 in this respect. The Afrin operation seems to have influenced the politics, though not as much as July 15.”

Selvi said there has been a decline in the number of undecided voters and that as many as 55 percent of the nation say they can vote for the AKP with the launch of the operation in Afrin.

July 15 refers to a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 on that date.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters launched the incursion named Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into those who share social media messages critical of the operation.

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