Monday, May 31, 2010

More Hope from Turkey

By Barry Rubin

A reliable poll shows a dramatic shift in Turkish public opinion. The Sonar company survey shows the left-secular Republican People’s Party (CHP, to use its Turkish initials) narrowly coming in first in elections. The party would get 33 percent compared to 31 percent for the ruling AKP Islamist party. The right-wing Turkish nationalist MHP would get around 19 percent.

The next elections are expected in 2011.

There are two major reasons for this change: a popular new leader for the Republican People’s Party and a bad economic situation. Economic woes were what largely brought the AKP to power in the first place. Back in 2007, the AKP received 47 percent compared to 21 percent for the CHP.

Another poll shows the AKP only very slightly ahead of the CHP.

An interesting question will be how the AKP will try to stay in power. It is going to get dirty.

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