Voters in Antalya and Mersin turn to opposition parties in hope of better economy

Speaking to Todayand’s Zaman, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy candidate Mehmet Kara said that the blocking of routes from Turkey to Middle Eastern countries due to the civil war in Syria and the non-renewal of a Ro-Ro ship agreement with Egypt, have hit the exporters of vegetables and fruits in Mersin as well as firms involved in carrying goods to the region.
He noted that major exporting firms of vegetables and fruits have gone bankrupt as a result of the slump in trade with Middle Eastern countries, dealing Mersinand’s local economy a heavy blow.
and”Iand’ve had talks with the Mersin Chamber of Shipping and the Mersin Chamber of Commerce. I also do business in this sector. They [the shipping companies and exporters in Mersin] complain about the situation in Egypt. [The non-renewal of the] Ro-Ro [agreement] has hit Turkey badly. Turkeyand’s busiest port in Mersin has been in trouble,and” said Kara.
Elginsan, the largest citrus fruit producer and exporter operating in andcukurova — Turkeyand’s major agricultural region — was shut down on May 13.
The company is located in Mersin and markets 50 percent of the citrus fruits produced in andcukurova region, which covers the territories of Adana, Mersin, Hatay and Osmaniye. Elginsanand’s bankruptcy has left behind TL 200 million in debts owed to dozens of firms and thousands of redundant workers.
Saying that the MHP will see a rise in electoral support for the party in Mersin as voters are disgruntled with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Kara expects that the MHP will obtain 7 or 8 out of 11 seats in Mersin.
h2Construction of nuclear plant in Mersin concerns localsh2 CHP Mersin provincial office chairman, Abdullah andOzyiiit, said there is growing resentment among people living in Mersin as they are anxious about the possible environmental impact as well as other consequences of the construction of a nuclear plant in Mersinand’s Akkuyu district.
Noting that a large portion of the population subsist on the cultivation of bananas and other fruits and vegetables, which can be grown only in Mersin and other southern coastal cities, he maintained that there is a high risk that this farming will cease due to soil contamination from nuclear waste.
and”You [the government] are building a [nuclear] plant in a region that has the potential to become a tourism paradise. This is like stabbing the region in the heart. [In addition to the plant], fifteen thermal plants and two cement plants will be built [in Mersin]. Anamur [a district of Mersin], the hometown of bananas [in Turkey] and Silifke [district] will be aersely affected. Who will consume or purchase the Mersin farm products if they are branded as contaminated by nuclear waste,and” said andOzyiiit.
Mersin MHP deputy candidate Kara touched on the same issue by saying that citizens in Mersin fiercely oppose the construction of a plant in their city.
Noting that the state does not issue and”organicand” certificates for crops grown within 50 kilometers of a nuclear plant, Kara said there is growing resentment on the part of Mersinites who fear the local agricultural sector will be dealt a huge blow.
Amid concerns about the safety of much-debated nuclear technology, a groundbreaking ceremony held for the construction of Turkeyand’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin in April was marked by anti-nuclear protests.
The controversial nuclear power plant project will be constructed by Russian company Rosatom in Akkuyu. The estimated cost of the entire project is $20 billion.
Ecology expert Pelin Cengiz, in an earlier interview with Todayand’s Zaman, had said that the nuclear plant model VVER-1200 to be built in Akkuyu has not undergone safety tests on its prototype.
h2HDP on rise in Mersinh2 Peopleand’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat told Todayand’s Zaman that electoral support for the HDP in Mersin is on the rise, with locals making gestures of support for the party by opening HDP election bureaus all over the city.
and”The HDP is invited to opening ceremonies in the city, which are generally attended by 3,000-4,000 people. There is no street in Mersin where the HDP does not have an election bureau thanks to localsand’ own initiatives. The biggest public rally in Mersin [during this election campaign term] was organized by the HDP,and” said Firat.
Firat, foreseeing rising electoral support for the HDP, expects that the party will be able to send three deputies from Mersin to Parliament in the next term. The party had acquired one parliamentary seat in Mersin in the 2011 elections.
He also noted that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu have grown anxious about the HDPand’s dramatic rise in popular support, making harsh statements against the pro-Kurdish party during public rallies.
Last week, simultaneous bombs exploded in the HDP offices in Mersin and Adana. An attack might be carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) against the HDP, according to HDP Co-chairman Selahattin Demirtai.
h2Antalya hit by decline in touristsh2 Antalya has seen decline in the number of tourists visiting the city due to the economic crisis in Russia that occurred after economic sanctions were imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea last year.
Speaking to Todayand’s Zaman, CHP deputy candidate and former Antalya Mayor Mustafa Akaydin highlighted that tourism, a key sector in the southern province, suffers from the plummeting number of tourists.
and”Tourists facilities have only been filled to 40 percent of their capacity though we are about to enter June. All other sectors in Antalya are aersely affected by this situation,and” said Akaydin.
Antalya welcomes 12 million tourists every year, of which Russian arrivals constitute 3.5 million.
The deputy chairman of Russiaand’s Association of Tour Operators (ATOR), Maya Lomidze, said in January that the number of Russians traveling abroad has slumped by around 40-50 percent this year compared to 2014.
Akaydin also noted another blow to Antalyaand’s economy came from the rising expenses for local farmers cultivating vegetables, fruits, fuel, pesticides and fertilizers.
and”Although expenses for the farmers have increased four to five fold, the price of their products is same as 12 years before. The primary concern of the citizens [in Antalya] is inability to make ends meet,and” said Akaydin.
He also said that citizens in Antalya, who complain about economic woes, place their hope in the CHP due to its economic pledges, which include promises to increase the minimum wage from TL 949 to TL 1500 and secure a TL 720 monthly payment for women as part of the CHPand’s and”family insuranceand” program.
Akaydin said that the CHP is expected to secure six of the 14 parliamentary seats allocated to Antalya.
MHP Antalya deputy Mehmet Gandunal said that the citizens in Antalya have grown resentful over the extravagant use of public resources by the government and its subordination of judiciary, as well as the foreign policy pursued by Turkey in the Middle East and elsewhere.
and”The AK Party bureaucratsand’ reckless spending, the use of the judiciary to put pressure on dissidents and the graft investigations of 2013 have led to discomfort on the part of people in Antalya. We see a rise in electoral support for the MHP in this city and others,and” said Gandunal.
and”Mistaken foreign policy decisions, such as the insistence on the removal of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad from power, the deterioration of relations with Middle Eastern counties and the resulting decline in bilateral trade [with those countries] caused a financial loss to exporters in Antalya. In addition, the cheap labor coming from Syria made Turkish citizens uncomfortable, with the unemployment rate rising to 11 percent. The citizens now turn to other parties,and” added Gandunal.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman