One of the most popular YouTube categories is the street interviews also known by their technical name Vox pop or Vox populi. Vox Populi is a Latin term that means the people’s voice.

Of course, it is very difficult to watch these street interviews and come up with the pulse of the nation. On the other hand, the interviews that we conduct in Turkish for Deutsche Well are also very well-liked and popular.

A few days ago, there was a street interview in which people were asked what they were going to vote for in the upcoming local elections. A majority of them say they will vote for the party. What this means for the average AKP voter is that regardless of the candidate, they will vote for whomever Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put up. One of the women who were interviewed was quite candid in her assessment. She says: “this winter has been really tough on us, we have never seen such high prices. But in case AKP is replaced by others, we wonder if it would get even worse. We cannot trust the others, either.”

People agree that the cost of living is very high and that the economy is nor managed competently. But it is also a popular opinion among the same people that Turkey is under external economic conspiracies. Some believe that the US is behind the rise in produce prices, and that they are out to hurt Turkey economically. And they naturally conclude that it is only Erdogan who can take us out of this mess.

Burak Kadercan, a political scientist residing in United States recently put up a poll on his Twitter account. The poll asks: “If the earth is invaded by the aliens, who would you pick for World Leader?” According to the results 39% would prefer Recep Tayyip Erdogan while 11% voted for Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 31% for Meral Aksener and 19% for Melih Gokcek. When you look at the interactions below the poll, you get the sense that most of his followers are not AKP supporters.

The tactic for the March 31st Elections is clear: The more the president takes the context of the elections out of urban planning and management and local issues towards himself personally, the more chance there is for AKP to emerge victorious. Erdogan is pretty bent on applying his tried-and-true method. AKP Mayoral candidates’ photos almost exclusively include a photo of Erdogan on the billboards. The elections are made to sound less like local elections and more like a vote of confidence for the president.

Although the voters are upset at AKP and the economic policies implemented by Erdogan, they seem to prefer to be stuck with the devil they know rather than one that they don’t, and thus are not likely to sway away from voting for AKP.

The President Does Not Trust the Polls

When President Erdogan was on live broadcast produced jointly by CNN Turk and Kanal D, he exclusively said that he doesn’t trust the polls -which was taken as a sign that AKP candidates were behind in them. But I think Erdogan was specifically talking about Ankara here. Pollsters close to AKP keep repeating that Mansur Yavas was ahead in the race in Ankara and that Ozhaseki was the wrong choice for AKP. I think these were the polls that Erdogan meant. His statement put an end to the swirling rumors that Ozhaseki would be pulled back from candidacy in favor of a different name. The faction within the AKP who are against Ozhaseki’s candidacy apparently has not been able to persuade Erdogan.

In the end, the President is the sole decider. Local mechanisms are not functioning, and therefore who the AKP nominates and where are totally besides the point. If the government wins the election it will ve a victory for Erdogan -again. He will be deciding on the fate of Turkey’s big cities. We can clearly hear his message to the party that he is nowhere ready to let go of the reign.

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