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Turkey: local elections seen as test of Prime Minister Erdogan's popularity

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Turkey: local elections seen as test of Prime Minister Erdogan's popularity


Turkish voters are getting ready to go to the polls in local elections on Sunday that could change the political future of the country.

Prime Minister Erdogan’s name won’t appear on any of the ballot papers, but the results will widely be seen as a verdict on his leadership.

The Turkish government has been accused of censorship after it shut down Twitter and Youtube.

The prime minister said it was necessary to block YouTube after a recording of a conversation between top government officials allegedly discussing going to war with Syria was posted on the site.

The elections also come on the back of a corruption scandal that has seen four ministers in his AK (Justice and Development) Party removed from office.

However, Ersin Kalaycioglu, political science professor at Istanbul’s private Sabanci University, believes that many voters aren’t interested in the corruption allegations.

“Although we have some evidence indicating that the recent debates about the corruption charges leveled against the prime minister and some front-bench members of the Justice and Development (AK) Party and their children seem to have been noticed by the people, but they do not seem to have been moved so much as to reconsider their voting behaviour in any great numbers, as far as I can tell.”

The elections will be the first since last summer’s anti-government protests in Gezi Park which left eight people dead.

Erdogan has previously said that if his AK party is no longer the leading party, he would reconsider his position in politics in Turkey.

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