The chief analyst of a field survey organisation that is specialised in surveys covering Turkey’s Kurdish-majority provinces, said the economic crisis and especially the rise in unemployment have taken precedence over other issues within the past two years, and women have felt the negative impact of the crisis much more than men.
Speaking to Jinha Women’s News Agency, Yüksel Genç, the Coordinator for the Centre of Sociopolitical Field Surveys, provided an analysis of the survey that was undertaken between 10-22 September in 22 cities throughout Turkey, with the participation of 2,000 individuals.
Indicating that the loss of electoral support for the ruling coalition consisting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had recently reached an average of 10 percentage points in Turkey, she said that this was mostly due to the economic crisis, and the loss was two points above the average in the Kurdish-majority provinces.
“The losses on the part of the Kurdish electorate started with the introduction of the security-oriented militaristic policies on the Kurdish Question, but the economic crisis and the increasing poverty in the region have made these losses almost irreversible,” she said, adding that the rise in the support for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was considerable: “Our recent field survey shows that while the AKP has a 10-12 percentage points loss, the support for the Republican People’s Party, the Good Party and the People’s Democratic Party rose.
“As the increase seems significant, especially for the CHP, it coincides with a statement by the party leader who said that they could solve the Kurdish Question in parliament, and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is to be addressed as the legitimate party.”
Genç noted that the increase in the support for the CHP originated from the electorate that has been traditionally voting for the centre parties and for AKP in particular, within the past 20 years.
“We observe that this group, amounting up to around 20-25% of the total vote, has started to shift towards the CHP,” she said.
She also indicated that the AKP’s loss was even more dramatic among women.
“Women had been a major source of support for the AKP for many years. The AKP had more female voters than the other parties. And they were loyal to Erdoğan. However, we observe that the AKP has been recently losing female votes. The impact of the economic crisis is indisputable. Social support packages provided exclusively to women started diminishing. (…) When women move away from a political party, they often don’t easily come back. The bulk of the loss the AKP will suffer in the elections will be due to the Kurds and the women.”
Emphasising that the HDP had the most stable voter base, she indicated that the support for the HDP was consolidated firmly due to its emergence as the sole political movement which voiced and represented the Kurdish Question and the Kurdish identity in parliament.
Genç added that HDP supporters had started to expect the party to come up with clear and viable policies on the economic crisis and unemployment within the past two years as the Kurdish-majority provinces had also been the ones worst affected by the economic crisis.
She noted that the damage the war and the violence caused on traditional networks of solidarity had aggravated the impacts of the economic crisis.
Another insight the survey provided was the remarkable shift in women’s perception of political participation and activism, she said. Genç pointed out that women tended to move away from traditional conservatism.
“64.8% of the females in the region view the HDP’s co-chair sytem positively,” she said. “83.2% support women’s participation in policy and decision making processes. These findings are very significant since they show that there are big dents in the traditional, discriminatory conservatism, and women are inclined to watch over and own these dents.”