Turkey's Pulse - August 2020

August 2020 was a month dominated more by burgeoning economic worries and anxiety than by what took place on the political stage in Ankara. On markets that had been enlivened by falling interest rates since the start of the year, the moods reversed as the Turkish lira shed value against currencies such as the dollar and the euro. It may be that the “dollar” plays little part in the actual lives of most people in Turkey. Nevertheless, most people think their lives are impacted by exchange rate volatility and the fall in the value of the lira. Any rise in the dollar against the lira leads to negative perceptions of the state of the economy.


In politics, while the Public Alliance has not gained votes, the status quo remains as the Nation Alliance is locked in the same trap. The Public Alliance may not gain votes, but it still wields power over the opposition and has locked political balances into a kind of “Ice Age”. The majority of voters think Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would win any presidential election. However, people with that opinion exceed those who would vote for Erdoğan by 10 points.


We take a summer of violence against women and debate surrounding the Istanbul Convention as reasons to focus yet again on an issue we return to as often as possible: women’s rights and the position of women in society. We regard focus on the rights of women, children, the environment and animals as part of our social responsibility and give them particular attention in our research. We find that in August 2020, as the month before, the idea of withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention is regarded negatively. Beyond that, our findings show yet again that the issue of violence against women is one on which the majority of the electorate is concerned and on which they expect more action from the state and more support for women.


One interesting finding this month is that, as tension rises with Greece, a large majority prefer diplomacy and negotiation to conflict. Our research indicates that no matter how much nationalist rhetoric is in the foreground, public caution wins out.


Another striking finding is about the level of preference for  Sharia law to be followed in the legal system.