Some 13.2 percent of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters said they would vote for other parties in the next elections after recent revelations by a Turkish mobster about state-mafia relations, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Tuesday, citing a survey by the Diyarbakır-based Center for Socio-Political Field Studies.
Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has since early May been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he posts on YouTube in Dubai. The mob boss has been accusing former and current government officials and their relatives of corruption, drug trafficking, rape and murder, among other crimes.
According to the survey conducted in 16 provinces in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern regions and consisting of face-to-face interviews with 1,064 people, 4.2 percent of respondents answered, “I’ve decided to switch parties” to the question “Did Sedat Peker’s claims on social media affect your party preferences as voters?”
Those respondents included 13.2 percent of AKP voters, while 42 percent of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and 38.3 percent of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) supporters answered the same question with “I’ve decided to continue to support the party I voted for,” according to the poll.
When asked what Turkey’s main problem was, 54.6 percent of participants replied “economic crisis/unemployment,” while 17.6 percent said “the Kurdish problem,” 5.6 percent said “the environment of conflict/violence” and 4.9 said “the current situation of the legal system.”
The results also showed that 62.8 percent of respondents thought the executive presidential system, which was adopted in Turkey with 51.4 percent of the vote in an April 2017 referendum, had been “unsuccessful,” while only 16.3 percent said they thought the system had been “successful.”
In 2018 Turkey switched from a parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidential system, which granted Erdoğan and his ruling AKP sweeping powers and was criticized for removing constitutional checks and balances, thus leading to a further weakening of Turkish democracy.
According to the survey, 65 percent of respondents also said the country needed to hold a snap election.
This comes at a time when the Turkish economy is suffering from inflation, and the Public Alliance, formed by Erdoğan’s AKP and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), is weakening, with support below 38 percent, according to a May survey by MetroPoll.