Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, 21 April, 2021. (Photo credit: AFP)
Turkiye’s upcoming elections on 14 May could see an opposition victory, as early polling from Aksoy Research currently shows the Turkish opposition’s presidential candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by more than 10 percentage points.
In addition, the polls also show the Nations Alliance, a political coalition made up of six opposition parties, ahead of Erdogan’s AK Party and its coalition partners by at least six points. Meanwhile, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is receiving 10 percent of votes in the same polls.
According to analysts, the Turkish President and his political bloc face their biggest challenge in the past 20 years, with soaring inflation, a cost-of-living crisis, and the effects of last month’s devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake coinciding to weaken Turkiye’s already fragile economy.
Meanwhile, 34.3 percent of Turks have blamed Erdogan’s government for the massive losses during the earthquake, while only 26.9 percent blamed contractors who built the many apartment buildings that collapsed in the quake, according to polling from Metropoll.
“Simply blaming Erdogan for everything that is wrong in Turkiye won’t cut it. Past elections have shown that Erdogan is a phenomenal campaigner, but recent remarks suggest he has lost his popular touch and his ability to connect with voters,” Wolfango Piccoli, co-president at political risk advisory firm Teneo, told Reuters.
Aksoy Research published its poll on 8 March, showing Kemal Kilicdaroglu ahead of Erdogan with 55.6 percent support, as opposed to the President himself with only 44.4 percent.
In addition, the poll showed the main opposition bloc with 43.5 percent of the vote and the HDP with 11.3 percent, while Erdogan’s AKP and its coalition partners in the nationalist MHP are winning just 37.8 percent.
Damages caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkiye and Syria in February exceed $100 billion in Turkiye alone, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) official.
Meanwhile, the World Bank estimated direct damages in Turkiye from the earthquake at $34.2 billion but said that the costs would be much higher if one calculates recovery and reconstruction costs, as well as the losses to Turkiye’s gross domestic product.
Currently, about 1.5 million people affected by the earthquake in Turkiye live in tents, while another 46,000 have been moved to container homes, according to the government.