Turkish police detain pollsters over 'unauthorized research'

Turkish police detain pollsters over 'unauthorized research'

Turkish police detain pollsters over unauthorized research A local research company, which was previously raided by government inspectors after releasing an opinion poll showing Turkey's ruling party losing votes, announced Sept. 19 that its pollsters were detained in Istanbul while conducting a field study.

"Police told our surveyors that they were not authorized for the field study. In reality, we have had all licenses for political, economic and market studies since 2011," Murat Gezici, the owner of the Gezici Research Company, told daily Hürriyet.

All pollsters, who were detained in Istanbul's Yukarı Dudullu neighborhood, were released later Sept. 19.

Gezici also claimed a policeman suggested one of the detained pollsters that he should not work for the company.

The Gezici Research Company was raided on Feb. 24 by inspectors from the Turkish Finance Ministry, two days after releasing its latest public opinion poll showing support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) just below 40 percent ahead of the June 7 election.

“The goal was to put pressure on us, to intimidate us and to stop us releasing poll results,” Gezici had then claimed, suggesting that the inspection was politically motivated.

The AKP received 40.8 percent of the vote in the June 7 election, losing its single-party majority. A re-election is scheduled for Nov. 1 as parties failed to form a coalition government.