Turks protest media outlets’ 'embargo' of presidential candidate


Erdogan rival in popularity surge unseen since 1970's

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main opponent in elections on June 24 is enjoying a surge in popularity, Birgun newspaper reported citing an opinion poll by SONAR.

Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has 31 percent of the vote, an increase of 10 percentage points compared with two weeks previously, according to the poll, which was conducted between May 29 and June 3 among 3,000 people in 26 provinces.

Such popularity for a CHP candidate hasn’t been seen since the 1970’s, Birgun said.

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Opposition supporters protest Turkish media outlets’ 'embargo' of candidate

Supporters of Turkey’s right-wing nationalist Good (İYİ) Party gathered in front of pro-government television head offices on Tuesday to protest their refusal of air time for Good Party presidential candidate Meral Akşener ahead of the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, independent news site Diken reported.

İYİ Party supporters held torches as they chanted slogans against censorship in front of the pro-government CNN Türk and Kanal D television stations as well as Hürriyet newspaper buildings, the site reported.

Protestors in front of CNN Türk and Kanal D television stations used a giant projection screen to play a live interview of Akşener on Habertürk television station.

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Pro-Kurdish party chair calls on opposition candidates to visit jailed Demirtaş

The co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sezai Temelli called on all opposition presidential candidates to visit jailed HDP candidate Selahattin Demirtaş in prison ahead of the nation’s elections set for June 24, independent news site Diken reported.

Demirtaş, one of 11 jailed HDP members, was arrested in November 2016 and faces a string of terrorism related charges that could result in a 142- year prison sentence. The HDP presidential hopeful has been conducting a presidential campaign from behind bars in Edirne prison.

‘’I am making this call once again,’’ Temelli said. ‘’Don’t be afraid, go to Edirne and work on a joint agreement. The people [of Turkey] will be behind you.’’

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Jailed presidential candidate to answer questions using social media

Jailed pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş will answer questions from Turkey’s electorate on social media on Wednesday, ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, independent news site t24 reported.

The presidential candidate will share his answers to questions posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram until 11 pm TSI on Wednesday, t24 said. 

The 44 -year-old former HDP co-chair has been jailed since November 2016 on a string of terrorism related charges and could receive a 142-year jail sentence.

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Erdoğan’s enduring appeal to voters bolstered by Turkey’s increasingly anti-Western outlook

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s enduring appeal to voters owes something to his achievements in the first years of AKP power, but is bolstered by Turkey’s increasingly anti-Western outlook, wrote editorial associate Fergus McKeown in the website Market Mogul.

The rise and fall of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who swept to power in 2012 and was seen as a key Middle Eastern ally of Turkey only to be deposed a year after his inauguration, paved the way for Erdoğan’s growing distaste for the West.

Events in Syria then served to exacerbate divisions with the West, with Turkey drawing criticism for allowing Islamist fighters to enter Syria through Turkey and Western support for Syrian Kurdish groups closely allied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged a decades long armed struggle against the Turkish state.

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EP calls for Demirtaş release

The European Parliament (EP) Turkey rapporteur has called for the release of jailed pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, independent news site t24 reported.

Kati Piri took to Facebook on Monday, highlighting that Demirtaş, who has been in pre-trial detention for 19 months and faces a string of terror-related charges, is campaigning from his prison cell. 

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Voters in Turkish Thrace ready for change

As part of Ahval's "Election Pulse" series Eylem Yilamaz visited the city of Tekirdağ, traditionally a CHP stronghold, in Turkey's north-west to speak to voters ahead of the elections.

Mirroring surveys by pollsters, their top concerns are the economy, security, foreign policy and injustice. Whilst many expressed concern at the way things are going in Turkey, for others voting for Erdoğan means a vote for stability and continuity.

Fikret Güzelsoy, 62, said the main opposition CHP backed the HDP, which is accused of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule for more than three decades.

“The CHP also supports anarchy and the HDP,” he said, sitting with a friend at a Tekirdağ tea garden.

Others disagreed.

"Turkey is holding early elections to get rid of this government,” said Sabri Salcan, a 72-year-old a retired labourer. Erdoğan, he said, “wants the country to be a kingdom. He wants to build his own dictatorship. I don't like this government. This government is trying to destroy all that Atatürk has done. I’ll vote for the CHP and Muharrem İnce."

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Poll shows close race in Turkish election

A survey conducted by Remres Research as Turkey heads towards the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, has revealed that the leading Justice and Development Party (AKP)-Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)- far-right Great Unity Party (BBP) alliance and the opposition alliance made up of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Good Party, the Islamist Felicity Party, and the small centre-right Democratic Party are neck and neck in the polls, secular Cumhuriyet daily reported.

The AKP-MHP alliance currently has 43.9 percent support while the opposition alliance of CHP- Good (İYİ) Party-Felicity (Saadet) Party maintains around 43.5-43.7 percent support from Turkey’s electorate, the daily said.

The poll, which was conducted in the end of May and beginning of June, demonstrated that support of the AKP-MHP alliance started off at 44.2 percent in the beginning of May, has taken a hit, while an increased number of voters are standing behind the opposition alliance, Cumhuriyet quoted Remres General Director Minez Bayülgen as saying.

‘’It’s still a head-to-head race,’’ Bayülen noted, adding that no alliance is able to find the 301 seats in Parliament they need in order to win a majority.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş remains in pre-trial detention on a string of terrorism related charges, has the support of 12.1 percent of the electorate, according to Remres. HDP thus appears to be slated to overcome the 10 percent election threshold, which is the highest in the world.

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No meeting between OSCE delegation and head of Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK)

A delegation sent to Turkey from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor Turkish elections have been unable to meet with the head of the YSK, Sadi Güven, according to Cumhuriyet newspaper. 

The delegation was able to meet with 4 other YSK members and also experts responsible for operating Turkey's Election Information System (SEÇSİS).  

Among issues discussed were recent changes to Turkish electoral law and the reliability of the SEÇSİS system.

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Election poll results will worry Erdoğan, says İnce

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Presidential candidate Muharrem İnce on Sunday said that the latest election survey results he has would be cause for concern for the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the snap presidential and parliamentary elections slated for June 24, independent news site Diken reported.

Erdoğan is looking to retain his seat in the upcoming elections, which will usher in a new executive presidential system narrowly approved in last years referendum and is set to grant increased powers to the president.

‘’I’ll say this much, Erdoğan will be unable to sleep,’’ the presidential hopeful said.

Current polls indicate that Erdoğan is well below the 50 percent support needed to secure an easy win in the presidential election. If no candidate receives at least half the support of Turkey’s electorate, the election will go into a second round.

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