Turkish President Erdoğan’s approval rating falls in February - poll

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s approval rating continued to fall in February, dropping by 0.8 percentage points to 41.1 percent in one month, according to data published by the Ankara-based pollster MetroPoll.

The drop brings Erdoğan’s approval rating down by nearly 7 percentage points since it reached highs last October, when the president launched a cross-border military operation against Kurdish-led groups in Syria’s northeast.

Meanwhile, the number of Turks who said they disapproved of the president rose to 51.7 percent – a steep rise since October, when less than 35 percent expressed disapproval.

The pollster said that 48.8 percent of respondents saw the Turkish military’s presence in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib as unnecessary, compared to just 30.7 percent who approved of its presence.

But the data was collected between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21, nearly a week before an attack by Syrian government forces killed dozens of Turkish soldiers in the province.

Since then, public anger at the Syrian government and Turkey’s strong response to the attack has stoked support for the military operation in Idlib, which the Turkish armed forces have dubbed Operation Spring Shield.

Thursday’s meeting between Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin to seek a solution for the escalation in Idlib could help the Turkish leader claw back support if he secures a ceasefire deal that the public views as favourable.