Is Turkey's harsh stance towards Israel a sign of political distress? The Turkish ruling party headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dropping in the polls and according to a recent one gained less that 30% in support rates.
Data recently released by the Sonar institute indicate that the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) gained only 28% in public support – the lowest rate since it entered parliament in 2002.
The secular Republican People's Party (CHP), on the other hand, is slowly getting stronger according to the poll, with 26% of the public's support. Ranked third is the extreme-Right Nationalist Movement (MHP) with 19%.
The ruling party has sustained an ongoing drop in support rates along the years. Whereas in the 2007's general elections it gained 46% of the votes, by 2009 it dropped to 39%.
When asked about Turkey's problems 69.7% of the poll's participants answered that unemployment and the economic crisis were the most urgent issues. This probably explains the popularity decrease in Erdogan's party.
"The sense is that the ruling party is losing support, which is expected to continue," a senior official in the secular opposition party told Ynet.
He noted that the AKP's loss of popularity indicates a return of the swing votes to the secular parties. "In 2002 they punished us over the government's failure, but now the same people are punishing Erdogan for the high unemployment."
'Poll no indication'
Former Foreign Ministry Director-General and onetime Israeli ambassador to Turkey Alon Liel remains unconvinced.
"Mid-term polls are no indication. I find it hard to believe that Deniz Baykal (leader of the secular opposition) will get 26% in the elections. If the elections were held next month this poll would be a sensation. It would point to the fact that Erdogan needs a coalition."
Liel added that the Turkish voter has a reputation of being disloyal to its eleted officials. "Erdogan has been ruling for seven years and that's rare in Turkish politics. The Turkish public takes down ruling parties fairly quickly," he noted.
Turkish army chief of staff Ilker Basbug denied reports Monday of a military coup plot. In a televised address, Basbug warned that the army has limited patience for such false accusations and noted that Turkish military coups are a thing of the past, and that the transfer of power should be conducted in a democratic way only.
According to reports based on legal documents, the army planned to plant bombs insides mosques seven years ago in order to create chaos which would lead to an overthrow.