Falling poll ratings push AKP back into Atatürk's arms
Support for Turkey’s ruling AK Party has fallen to just 34 percent, according to polling conducted at the start of October.
With the polling at these levels, the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper reported President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was afraid of his AK Party losing its majority in parliament and was seeking to influence the March 2019 local election results through enforced resignations of unpopular officials.
Most in the AKP believe the local election results will affect the general election results later that year, the newspaper said.
As for the party’s own changes before the 2019 elections, it looks like they will not be limited to mayoral resignations.
The AKP will start moving towards a more secular narrative such as that instilled in generations of Turks by followers of the founder of the republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Ahmet Hakan wrote.
Their vote in Istanbul and Ankara has fallen … A 50 percent bar has started to frighten them … They cannot excite the urban and educated segments … The love of Atatürk has registered an ongoing increase … Even those who have critical approaches to the Republic have started saying “My blonde haired, blue eyed one/Where are you? Wherefore?” … Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s photographs have started to take social media by storm … The AK Party has become aware of the situation and has now begun being subtly Atatürkist.”
Sabah newspaper’s Republic Day headlines seemed to confirm Hakan’s claim.
Sabah, which is owned by the Kalyon Group, a concern close to the government, celebrated last year’s Oct. 29 Republic Day with a small picture of Atatürk in the top right-hand corner of the front page, this year it used the headline “We are happy, we are proud” to introduce the Republic celebrations:
On Oct. 29, 2016, Sabah came out with the below headline: