Opposition candidate inching closer to Erdoğan in social media popularity

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has seen a 74 percent increase in social media popularity over the past week, bringing him close to his opponent, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ahead of next month’s presidential and parliamentary elections, secular Cumhuriyet daily reported.

Erdoğan is seeking re-election in snap polls on June 24, and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been stimulating the economy while grappling with double-digit inflation and a slump in the lira against the dollar.

Erdoğan maintained the top spot on social media, with mentions and tags pertaining to Turkey’s strongman over the past week hitting the 1.3 million mark.

Meanwhile, CHP’s İnce, who was nominated last month, saw a 74 percent increase in social media attention over the past week with just over 1 million, pushing him into second place behind Erdoğan.

Right-wing nationalist Good (İYİ) Party candidate Meral Akşener placed third with 280,852 social media postings pertaining to the straight talking 61-year-old.

Jailed pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş, on the other hand, was mentioned in 201,922 social media postings, followed by Islamist nationalist Felicity (Saadet) Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu with 181,703 social media postings.

Turkey's presidential elections will usher in a new executive presidential system that was narrowly approved in last year's referendum and is set to grant the president increased powers.