In April 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called new presidential and parliamentary elections for June 24. This unexpected call was surprising for the general public and opposition parties alike, and subsequently generated both positive and negative reactions. The rationale for early elections was mostly related to the economic needs of Turkey, as the political uncertainties were seen as a risk to financial markets and the economy as a whole.
The Kurdish vote in the South-east represents the litmus test for all parties. Reaching out to Kurdish voters, who are the majority in Turkey’s South-eastern provinces, is a must for both the AK Party and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who served in office as Prime Minister for three consecutive terms, and then as President since 2014.
This study, which is based upon qualitative analysis of 25 interviews with prominent personalities in the South-east region of Turkey, aims to identify trends that may affect the current AK Party supremacy, and discern both the ins (factors that may bring more votes to AK Party) and outs (factors that may take away votes from AK Party) from the perspective of the analysed sample. Through the content analysis of the interviews conducted, this study has identified four ins and four outs. The fight against PKK terrorism in the South East, the performance of appointed trustees, the upgrade of the local infrastructure, and the lack of political alternatives have been identified as points of attraction. Conversely, unemployment, issues in education, the use of nationalistic narratives and the subsequent coalition with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and a perceived detachment from local MPs are considered as potential concerns that could sway votes from the AK Party.