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    Turkish worker union members gesture during an anti-government, pro-secularism protest on May 28, 2016 in Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on MAy 22 gave his close ally and Transport Minister Binali Yildirim the mandate to form a government as prime minister in a move set to further consolidate the strongman's grip on power.

    No Means No: Majority of Turks Oppose Presidential System

    © AFP 2019 / ADEM ALTAN
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    The majority of Turkey's population apparently does not favor a transition to a presidential system of government and considers terrorism the biggest threat to the country.

    Özer Sencar, CEO of the Ankara-based Metropoll Strategic and Social Research Center, told Sputnik that according to a recent survey, 48 percent of respondents are against establishing a presidential system in Turkey, while 42 percent of respondents said they would support such a transition.

    "This relatively small margin could only be negated if the ruling party was to make adjustments to its domestic strategy. However, if it doesn’t happen, and if the opposition – especially the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – plays it smart and reforms its leadership, this gap between the proponents and opponents of the presidential form of government will remain unchanged," Sencar said.

    He also pointed out that the possibility of early parliamentary elections is another hot topic for Turkish society.

    If said elections were to take place, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) position appears to be secure as about 42 percent of voters would support it, Sencar said. He explained that the recent resignation of ex-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is unlikely to affect the elections, because AKP supporters are mostly swayed by the actions and rhetoric of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    "If MHP doesn’t undergo some structural changes, a referendum will be held. And if during that referendum MHP members would refuse to vote for the presidential system, snap elections will be declared. This in turn would allow Erdogan to run the country all by himself, and there’s no political force in Turkey to prevent him from doing so," Sencar said.

    Another major issue that worries a great number of Turks and even managed to eclipse the ever-present concerns about the woes befalling Turkey’s economy is the terrorist threat.

    "The government wants to switch to a presidential system. The ruling party wants to make it look natural and seeks to heighten public interest in this issue. And yet the current situation in the country’s southeast, with reports about new terrorist attacks and casualties coming from there every day, inevitably makes the fight against terrorism a top priority. Therefore, it is these two issues that influence the Turkish voters the most," Sencar surmised.


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    public opinion, terrorism, presidential system, early elections, Justice and Development Party (AKP), MHP, Ahmet Davutoglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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