Half of ruling AKP supporters blame ‘external forces’ for ailing economy – survey

Almost half of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters blame “external forces” for the country’s economic crisis, according to a survey by leading pollster Metropoll.

The figure contrasted with the 23.8 percent of overall voters who pointed to foreign influence in the country’s ailing economy, T24 news site cited the poll conducted in April as saying.

Inflation in Turkey has surged to an annual 70 percent, the highest level in emerging markets and industrialised economies, after a currency crisis sent the lira tumbling by 44 percent against the dollar last year. 

Eighty percent of people questioned in the survey said they had difficulty making ends meet.

Many economists along with the political opposition have blamed the financial instability on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who in an unorthodox move ordered the central bank to cut interest rates between September and December to stimulate economic growth and exports.

A total 63 percent of those surveyed by Metropoll said the government was to blame for the downward turn in the economy, while 7.5 percent said the opposition was at fault.

Among supporters of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the junior coalition partner of the ruling alliance, 47.4 percent pointed the finger at “external forces” for the economy's dire straits.

Turkey’s next presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place by June 2023 and the ailing economy is threatening Erdoğan’s re-election.

Around 42 percent of survey participants said they approved of Erdoğan’s handling of his job, according to the Metropoll survey. Erdoğan’s approval rating had been rising since December 2021’s 38.6 percent, reaching 43.3 percent in March, the survey showed.

(This story was updated with details in the fourth paragraph.)

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