Briefing

Five things to understand about Turkey's protests

The unrest is unlikely to become a “Turkish Spring,” but it is testing democracy in Turkey.

By , Correspondent

3. How much has this hurt Erdogan and the AKP?

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    Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his lawmakers at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, June 18.
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According to a recent opinion poll by Turkey’s MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center, Erdogan’s popularity dropped from 60.8 percent in April to 53.5 percent in June. Directors of the survey say the 7.3 percent drop is significant and may continue to fall if Erdogan does not effectively engage the opposition.

Despite the large numbers of Turkish people who’ve taken to the streets to oppose Erdogan, it remains highly likely, even expected, that the prime minister will win reelection in 2015. The next largest party after AKP is half its size and the opposition remains fragmented, with few common issues holding the political groups together. In this environment there exists no unity candidate for the opposition or other singular leader capable of posing a serious threat to Erdogan at the ballot box.

However, since protests began opposition parties have grown in popularity while AKP has suffered minor losses, according to the survey by MetroPOLL. If trends continue, AKP may win by a smaller margin in the local elections in 2014 and the general election in 2015. If this happens, Erdogan will lose his 50 percent mandate and may be forced to make more compromises with opposition parties.

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