Nervous Erdogan Sacks MPs Amid Rating Slips

More signs Kurdish crackdown 'election ploy' backfired: opposition head defeats Erdogan in TV ratings, AKP cuts controversial MPs from list.

Ari Yashar ,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Further signs have surfaced showing that the crackdown on Kurdish forces by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) - which experts estimated was an elections ploy - has failed spectacularly.

Several analysts explained Erdogan's unofficial war on Kurdish forces launched in July was a ploy to make up for AKP's failure in June elections, and to pave the way for upcoming November 1 reelections. However, polls last month showed that instead of picking up Turkish nationalist support, the Islamist AKP has sagged even further in support from those elections, while opponents have strengthened.

Those opponents include AKP's main opposition, the secular CHP party, but also the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) that scored a huge victory in the recent elections, winning 13% of the poll and 80 seats thanks to support from non-Kurdish voters who they stole away from Erdogan.

In a new sign of AKP's slip, local media shows both Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of AKP lost out significantly in television ratings figures to CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu last week, according to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News.

Erdogan's interview with TRT last Wednesday received a viewer rating of just 3.43, whereas Kilicdaroglu's interview on CNN Turk had a rating varying between 4.06 and 5.54, with the results published last Friday by Cumhuriyet.

Davutoglu's interview with NTV on the same Wednesday performed much poorer. It was rebroadcasted later and overlapped with Kilicdaroglu's interview for 15 minutes, during which time the prime minister's rating was between 0.38 and 0.52, whereas Kilicdaroglu's enjoy a rating fluctuating between 5.23 and 6.24.

Taking it out on oddball MPs

The June 7 election was the first time the AKP had lost its majority since 2002 when it came to power. Attempts to form a coalition have failed, setting the stage for a snap repeat election on November 1 - which according to recent polls will see AKP lose even more power.

Perhaps in response to the various polls and ratings showing its continued decline, Erdogan's Islamist AKP last Friday excluded several controversial members from its elections candidate list.

Among those removed is Abrurrahim Boynukalin, who was caught on film threatening Hurriyet journalists and giving a threatening speech in front of the paper's headquarters in Istanbul on September 6, around the time of two separate attacks on the building that same day.

Also removed was MP Ugur Isilak, who was a singer before he joined politics.

Before the June elections he promised "I'm not going to the parliament to sleep." Ironically, he was caught on camera doing just that, sleeping in just the third parliamentary session.

AKP's continued fall since elections has been accompanied by its crackdown on Kurdish forces, which analysts estimated was meant to do just the opposite.

After an Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bombing against Kurdish activists in Turkey two months ago, several Kurdish militants conducted attacks on police, given that Turkey has cooperated with ISIS and other anti-Kurdish Islamist groups

Erdogan leaped on the events by launching a two-pronged crackdown against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), breaking off peace talks with the militant group and leaving hundreds dead, while announcing a simultaneous campaign against ISIS that has yet to truly materialize.