Turkish pollster ‘raided by inspectors’ after poll angered AKP
ISTANBULA research company has been raided 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) below 40 percent, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.
According to Murat Gezici, the owner of the Gezici Research Company, inspectors came to its headquarters in Istanbul’s Zincirlikuyu neighborhood on the morning of Feb. 24.
During the inspection, they checked the company’s financial records, contracts, employees and “even the part-time surveyors,” Gezici said, noting that “they found no wrongdoing.”
“I asked my friends and colleagues whether they had ever been inspected this way and they said they had not,” Gezici said, suggesting that “it was not a normal inspection.”
“The goal was to put pressure on us, to intimidate us and to stop us releasing poll results,” he claimed, alleging that the government was “uncomfortable with their work.”
Gezici’s latest poll showed the AKP at 39.1 percent throughout the country, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) at 28.7 percent, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at 18.1 percent, and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) standing just half a point below the 10-percent parliamentary threshold.
On Feb. 25, CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu filed a parliamentary question for Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu about the raid on Gezici, asking: “If Gezici’s headquarters have been raided by financial police as it is claimed, is it related to the latest poll of this company?”
Many Turkish research companies have been accused of manipulating polls, and the issue particularly came into focus before and after the March 2014 local elections.
Gezici was founded in 2011. Its latest poll results had been targeted on several pro-government news websites, amid allegations that it is an “opposition company” with a nationalist agenda, rather than a research organization conducting objective work.