Mar 26 2019

Turkish media falls for parody ‘polling company’ ahead of local elections

A parody election poll by an online group posing as a polling company was published in multiple Turkish news outlets on Tuesday.

Calling themselves “KOMSAR Kendine Araştırma” (KOMSAR Self Research) and using the Twitter handle “@KOMSARnet,” the fake polling company carries a disclaimer that it was created in response to Turkey’s actual pollsters.

On March 24, the group published polls it claimed were from various areas of Turkey, including the key cities of İzmir, Ankara, İstanbul.

Various news outlets such as independent T24 and Diken, TimeTürk and Sputnik Turkish were quick to publish the polls, which had the alliance with ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) winning in İstanbul, while the alliance with main opposition Republican People’s Party was in the lead in capital Ankara.

Experts see Turkey’s March 31 local elections as a referendum for the country’s ruling AKP, which has been in power for 17 years.

Many pollsters in Turkey are in a race to share the results of their surveys, some of which experts label as being highly suspicious. Turkey’s leading pollster Konda said last week that it would not share survey results for March polls, adding that while the balance between ruling and opposition alliances will change to 49 to 51 percent, respectively, the results will fail to serve as evidence as election strategies differ vastly across the country's 81 provinces.