Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will struggle to hold onto its share of Kurdish votes in the national elections due next year, a poll by independent think tank Spectrum House revealed.
The findings of Spectrum House’s poll of nearly 2,000 people in 14 Turkish provinces with a majority Kurdish demographic showed that the ruling party’s share of the Kurdish vote is likely to slide dramatically in the next elections, while support for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will likely rise.
Around 18.5 percent of the survey’s respondents said they voted for the AKP in the 2018 election, but only 9 percent said they would vote for the ruling party in 2023, showing a loss of more than 50 percent of the party’s Kurdish voters.
Meanwhile, support for the HDP rose from around 67 percent in 2018 to a projected 73 percent in the next elections, Spectrum House’s research found.
The apparent shift comes during a period when the ruling coalition of the AKP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party has mustered the weight of Turkey’s police force and judiciary to repress the HDP and the broader Kurdish political movement.
Numerous HDP politicians, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ have been jailed on anti-terror charges, while the ruling party has also sent government appointees to many Kurdish municipalities to replace elected mayors.
Last year, prosecutors launched a case to close the HDP over claims the party has links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
But the governing party’s repressive measures have only consolidated support for the HDP among Kurdish voters, according to Sprectrum House’s poll.
Just 46.3 percent of respondents who voted for the AKP in 2018 said they would cast their votes for the ruling party again, while 14 percent said this time they would vote for the HDP in the coming election.
A further 7 percent of former AKP voters said they would cast their votes for the main opposition Republican People’s Party, and more than 25 percent said they were undecided or would not vote.
By contrast, more than 95 percent of respondents who said they voted for the HDP in 2018 said they would choose the party again in 2023.