Erdogan fights for survival amid party defections, sliding opinion poll

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Published: Dec 23, 2020, 10.07 PM(IST)

(File photo) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Turkey president's allies have been deserting him and his party is breaking up. Erdogan's voters are losing faith in him and his critics have been ending up in jail in thousands.

The Turkey president wanted a neo-Ottoman empire but Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now fighting for survival.

Erdogan's dreams to lead the Muslim world could end prematurely as he is paying the price for his adventurism for picking unnecessary fights with world leaders and for waging costly wars.

Turkey president's allies have been deserting him and his party is breaking up. Erdogan's voters are losing faith in him and his critics have been ending up in jail in thousands.

President Erdogan's many missteps have been threatening his reign. An incident took place a few weeks back. Bulent Aarinc is a founding member of Turkey's ruling party. He is a former deputy prime minister.

He served on the presidential high advisory board. The board is the top advisor to the Turkish president. Bulent Arinc was part of Erdogan's inner circle, then suddenly, he decided to leave.

According to reports, Arinc and Erdogan had a dispute over reforms. Arinc also wanted the release of two high profile prisoners but, Erdogan was in no mood to comply. In fact, he picked a new fight. The Turkey president publicly accused his deputy of "standing with terrorists".

Meanwhile, Erdogan's top aides have been leaving him with party splintering and driving these departures is dissent and disagreement with the president.

The defections at the lower level began last year and by September last year, Erdogan had lost 8,40,000 members. Two key members of Erdogan's party left him - Ali Babajan - the former minister of economy and Ahmet Davu Tuolo, former prime minister.

The high profile exits led to more departures and whenever a top leader leaves a party he takes his supporters with him. The mass departures started showing in official data of Erdogan's party.

In August 2018, the justice and development party had almost 11 million members. In one year, the numbers dropped to less than 10 million and now even Erdogan couldn't ignore the defections. So, he tried to spin it. In a speech, he claimed that 95 per cent of the members who left have actually died.

The two top leaders who left launched their own political outfits. It split the voter base of the president's party as Erdogan's popularity took a hit. opinion polls in the last two months go against the Turkish president.

In October, 78 per cent of the people in Turkey believed that the economic situation of the country is getting worse. 58 per cent respondents who supported Erdogan's party felt that the economy is doing badly.

The president's ratings have plummeted. In the same month, support for his party fell to 28.5 per cent. In November, 46.6 per cent of the citizens of Turkey did not approve of Erdogan's performance on the job.

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