Turkey’s biggest problems economy, unemployment - survey

A nation-wide survey conducted by MAK Consulting company unveiled that the plunging lira and unemployment are the greatest problems facing Turkey as the nation heads to the polls next month for snap presidential and parliamentary elections, secular newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.

The results of the survey arrive as the nation’s currency took a record dive on Tuesday night, with the U.S. dollar/Turkish Lira rate hitting 4.82. The lira has been one of the worst-performing emerging market currencies this year. Meanwhile, Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 10.8 percent in January, the highest level in 10 months, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

MAK Consulting’s results differ from previous surveys which have traditionally found ‘terrorism’ and ‘security’ as urkey’s most pressing problems.

The company’s poll, conducted between May 13-20 with 5500 people, found that 45 percent of those asked saw the economy, including the steadily-dropping lira and  unemployment, as the greatest challenge facing Turkey.

The same survey found that 18 percent found foreign policy to be an obstacle for the nation, followed by the justice system at 7 percent.

Terror and security was seen as Turkey’s most pressing issue for 5 percent of those surveyed.

Fifteen percent of the surveyed said that various other issues were the greatest problem for the nation while 10 percent were undecided, Cumhuriyet reported.

The poll also measured support for presidential candidates ahead of the country’s elections on June 24, which is set to a usher in a new presidential system which was approved narrowly in last year’s referendum and will grant extended powers to the president.

Of those surveyed, 48.5 percent said they stood behind the presidency of leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while 22. 5 percent said they support main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş was favored by 9 percent of those surveyed.

Responding to a question on whether Turkey is currently facing a financial crisis, 57 percent answered yes. Thirty-five percent answered the follow-up question of ‘’Who would be able to solve the crisis?’’ with Turkish President Erdoğan, as compared to 20 percent who said opposition CHP presidential candidate Muharrem İnce.

Fifteen percent of those asked believed that right-wing nationalist Good (İYİ) Party presidential candidate Meral Akşener could solve Turkey’s economic crisis while 7 percent held that the HDP presidential candidate Demirtaş could take on the task.