May 18 2018

Turkish opposition CHP voters favour talks to end Kurdish problem - poll

Supporters of Turkey’s left-of-centre main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) have a positive attitude towards a peaceful solution to the country’s decades-old Kurdish problem, compiled results of the Konda Research’s surveys revealed.

For 61 percent of the CHP voters, tensions between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s supporters and opponents were the main reason for social polarisation, according to collated results of Konda’s polls conducted since March 2016. Some 58 percent feared conflict between the majority Turks and Kurds, who make up around 20 percent of Turkey’s 82-million population. Tensions between secularists and religious groups was the third reason given for social divisions, with 20 percent.

The polls showed 47 percent of CHP voters believed negotiations for the resolution of the conflict with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) should restart. Talks between the government and the PKK broke down in 2015, ending a two-and-a-half year ceasefire in the conflict that began in 1984. 

But 19 percent of CHP voters believed the problem could not be solved by peaceful means and 34 percent rejected the existence of a Kurdish problem. 

The results pointed to a more democratic attitude toward the Kurdish question among CHP voters, as 76 percent of voters for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and 88 percent of supporters of the ultra nationalist National Movement Party (MHP) rejected the existence of a Kurdish question. 

In the same poll, 44 percent of CHP voters preferred a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish problem, while 41 percent were in favour of military operations. Fifteen percent believed the problem would continue no matter what.

In another Konda survey, 42 percent of CHP voters opposed the idea of education in their mother tongue for Kurdish children in Turkey, while 40 percent were in favour. Meanwhile, 69 percent were in favour of mother tongue education for Turkish children living in Germany.