Turkish pollster: "No chance of opposition victory in elections without HDP's support"
A prominent Turkish pollster whose company has been conducting monthly "Turkey's Pulse" polls for 18 years said that the political rivals of the Turkish President are still unable to fully grasp his true capabilities and that expecting an easy victory against him in the coming elections is a miscalculation.
Ozer Sencar, the founder and director of MetroPoll, also said to Medyascope's Rusen Cakir in a Webcast that an election victory for the opposition bloc without the support of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is "definitely impossible."
He told Cakir:
"The circles of the left and liberals have not been able to sufficiently understand the political Islamists and their leader. I don't think you have been able to know him [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] enough, although he's been a dominant figure in politics during the last 30 years."
He then went on to elaborate, saying:
"Erdogan is a campaigning monster, a campaigning machine. People are still unable to realize what he's really doing (...) He does not only have the state power at his disposal, but he also has a distinct campaigning language; a polarizing language. His rival should be able to render this language ineffective."
Sencar stressed that the opposition bloc must come up with a candidate that will not be widely opposed by any significant political, social, religious of ethnic group, if it is to succeed in the presidential elections.
Another condition for the opposition bloc's success, he said, is the support of the HDP.
"I do not believe that an opposition candidate can win without HDP's support, not in the first round of the election, nor in the second round (...) I hear some people saying, 'We can win without HDP's support. They have no chance."
Sencar also criticized Meral Aksener, the leader of the nationalist opposition Good Party, for declaring that "she will never sit in the same table with HDP."
"Her remarks is a political disaster. Everybody ought to sit in the table with HDP," he said, adding:
"One of the deputy speakers of the Turkish Grand Assembly is a HDP deputy. You are sitting with HDP deputies in the parliament, you are sitting with them in parliamentary commissions."
Sencar pointed out that the Good Party once had an objective of positioning itself as a center right party, but this is no longer the case in the last six months as it gave up its efforts to move towards the center right.
He added that about 25% of the Turkish voters supported nationalist parties, and eventually only one or two parties of real significance would emerge out of the current four nationalist parties, the Good Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the anti-immigration Victory Party, and the Great Victory Party (BBP).
As for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Sencar said that there was no progress in terms of an improvement in voter base. He said:
Seven years ago, they had a support of 21.6%, before the distribution of undecided voters. Now they have a support of 20% (...) CHP is moving on a flat line for the last seven years. There is no change."
He added that the case is positively different for CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who will likely run for president in the coming election.