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Pro-AKP Pundit: Change of Wind for ”Yes”

CHANGE of WIND for “YES”

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced that the kick-off for the constitution referendum will start on 25th February in Ankara Arena.

President Erdoğan has already began his “YES” campaign in Mersin and Aksaray. On the weekend, he will continue campaigning in Malatya, Elazığ, Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep and Adıyaman.

Meanwhile, the campaign strategy team is trying to shape how the campaign is going to go forward. As soon as President Erdoğan is back from his trip to Gulf countries, he will decide on the final approaches in the campaign strategy. Both President and Prime Minister are planning to attend some opening ceremonies and rallies together.

Campaign strategy will consist of two legs

1) Banners and campaign songs will be heavily decorated with “YES”. What “YES” means in terms of outcome will be explained. It will be emphasized that with “YES” people will confirm on the political stability and economic growth.

2) Both President and Prime Minister will explain to the crowds at the rallies about the negative impacts of “NO” vote. Of course, who is supporting “NO” will be one of the top agenda in their rallies. It will be underlined that PKK, FETO, ISIS and The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) say “NO” and The Republican People’s Party (CHP) says “NO”. They will avoid hinting any kind of propaganda such as whoever says “NO” is a terrorist. Of course, if it can be actually achieved! Instead, it will be rather preferred to follow a theme, saying that “NO” will please the terrorists.

A campaign strategy more on “NO” than “YES” will be followed.

Will the campaign include 15th July as well? More than a mere “YES” and “NO”, the campaign will be built on the grounds of 15th July. The coup attempt on 15th july will be continuously reminded to people. President Erdoğan regards the referendum on the constitutional changes as the political outcome of 15th July. AK party will not forget it and will make sure the people will not either.

54% “YES” in RECENT POLLS

In order to gauge what referendum will likely result in, the party continually orders polls. So far, the results indicate “YES” is between 51% and 54%. However, none of poll results points in the direction that “YES” exceeds 55%. Is AK Party doing its strategy with respect to these poll results? No. Because poll companies are still continuing their work on ground.

It looks like “YES” for the constitutional referendum matches pretty well AK Party’s current vote potential. In recent polls, the party receives approximately 54.4 of the vote. There is a group of 5% within this potential AK Party voters, who needs to be convince for a “YES” vote on the constitutional referendum. By comparing 7th June election to that of 1st November, it was assumed the percentage of this group of people to be around 9%, however the recent polls indicate around 5%.

A 5% support from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is expected. The governing body of MHP states that they have been working very hard and been able to pull in more support from its base. It is widely believed that 60% of MHP supporters are expected to vote “YES”. With this support, they are aiming to achieve an overwhelming majority of “YES” beyond 55%. About 2% support from HDP’s conservative and Kurdish base is also anticipated.

RECENT NEGATIVE IMAGE of “YES”

Although the campaigns on the constitutional referendum is yet to start, public has slowly began to finalize their decisions. Last two weeks, there have been negative developments on the “YES” side. For the first time, it is noted that the wind has changed its direction. Especially, in Istanbul and Ankara it was reported that there is some retreat in “YES” front. Whether this retreat is 0.5% or 1% is not certain. However, the party officials cares about it regardless of how the small it is.  

What are the factors causing such a negative impact?

1) Equalizing “NO” supporters to PKK, ISIS and FETO

2) Expunge of the academics via recent execution orders

3) Controversies surrounding Sovereign Wealth Fund

4) Not allowing Meral Akşener to give a speech in Çanakkale

Above-mentioned developments seen as negative impact on “YES” are perceived to support the evidence of moving the country towards more autocratic and authoritarian regime.

In 2011 election AK party witnessed a similar situation. With controversies about the lineage of Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition party (CHP), the polls indicated that AK party was losing its support. As soon as this piece of evidence was found out, Erdoğan changes his campaign rhetoric, embracing more inclusive language; as a result, the indicators turned back in positive direction.

Although the campaign is not kicked off yet, this issue is seen as an early warning by many. Resolving this issue and then reversing the direction of wind is the only goal.

Translated by WHatti from Hurriyet

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