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Turkish ruling party may lose majority in June election

By Nevzat Devranoglu

Turkey’s ruling AK Party may lose its parliamentary majority in a June 7 election and be forced to form either a coalition or a minority government, according to a poll privately commissioned by Turkish business and cited in newspapers on Friday.

The poll by research firm Konda showed support for the AK Party dropping to 40.5 per cent from 49.8 per cent at the last general election in 2011, according to bankers who have seen the research and highlights published by Turkish newspapers.

The poll, which has not been made public by Konda, also showed the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) would garner 11.5 percent of the vote, above the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The prospect of the AK Party being unable to form a single-party government unnerved financial markets.

The lira stood at 2.5960 to the dollar, weakening from late on Thursday and underperforming major emerging markets peers. The main stock index was down 0.7 per cent by 0700 GMT, also weaker than peers.

Economists and traders say markets have been pricing in a simple majority for the AK Party, albeit a weaker one than in 2011.

“(Turkish) asset traders should expect more poll-driven volatility … as we have only 10 more trading days until the general elections,” Isik Okte, investment strategist at Istanbul-based TEB Investment, said in a note to clients.

The Konda poll predicted less than 29 per cent of the vote for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and less than 15 per cent for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Konda has built a strong reputation over years for its research on parliamentary elections, although it overestimated support for President Tayyip Erdogan in a presidential election last August.

Turkish police launch raids targeting Erdogan foes

Turkish police launched an operation on Friday to detain some 80 business people in an investigation targeting supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, President Tayyip Erdogan’s ally-turned-foe, the Dogan news agency said.

Moves against what Erdogan calls a “parallel structure” within the state had until now focused on Gulen’s perceived followers in the police, judiciary, media and a major bank. Erdogan accuses Gulen of trying to unseat him.

The police operation was focused on the central city of Konya but spread across more than 10 provinces, Dogan reported, adding that 20 people including a former police chief were among those detained.

Police declined to comment on the operation, which comes just over two weeks ahead of a June 7 parliamentary election.

Erdogan blames Gulen’s supporters within the police and judiciary for instigating a corruption inquiry that rocked the government late in 2013.

Thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors were subsequently removed from their posts or transferred to other duties, while the court cases they instigated have been dismissed.



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