Survey company head claims İYİ offered bribe to bump its vote share in polls

The former head of Eurasia Research survey company, Kemal Özkiraz, on Nov. 25 claimed that the opposition party İYİ (Good) Party offered him money to bump the party’s vote share in opinion polls in the run-up to the Turkish general elections in May. 

Duvar English

The former head of the Eurasia Research survey company Kemal Özkiraz on Nov. 25 claimed that the İYİ (Good) Party, a member of Turkey’s oppositional Nation Alliance, had offered him money to bump the party vote shares in the opinion polls leading up to the May 14 general elections

Speaking during the “Special Agenda” program on Tele1, Özkiraz said he had denied the offer, which came from an İYİ Party deputy Ümit Dikbayır “with regards” from party leader Meral Akşener. 

“Meral Akşener and Ümit Dikbayır offered me an exorbitant amount of money to be paid in monthly installments, asking me to make the İYİ Party do well in the opinion polls in return. They even wanted the party to come first among all opposition parties after July 2022,” said Özkiraz.

The main request of the İYİ Party was that they never wanted presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to exhibit promising vote shares in the polls, according to Özkiraz, which was a real problem for the oppositional alliance. 

Özkiraz added that he had screenshots of text messages that proved the bribe offer.

When asked why he chose to reveal this now, Özkiraz said that the former main opposition leader and presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu did not allow him, as it would harm the spirit of the alliance leading up to the elections. 

However, İYİ Party deputy Ümit Dikbayır’s recent remarks accusing party leader Akşener’s son of distributing party funds to his own circle.

Dikbayır was recently put under disciplinary review by Akşener as he was accused of sexual harassment and clandestinely tracking the bank accounts of Akşener’s relatives. 

After initially declaring he would resign from the party, Dikbayır retracted and said he was ready to answer all accusations in court, and he would not resign from the party “that belonged to him and his friends.” 

The İYİ Party was a part of the opposition alliance "Table of Six," alongside the main opposition CHP. The party fielded candidates strategically in Turkey's provinces and supported presidential candidate former CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for the presidential elections. 

The nationalist party performed worse than expectations and received 9.90% of votes in the general elections. Akşener has since openly criticized the alliance system and declared the party would field candidates for the upcoming local elections independently. 

The party is experiencing an exodus, with some members protesting the party administration's decision to run independently in local elections, and some joining the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).