Turkish Premier Touts Matchmaking Service as Campaign Heats Up

  • `Come to us,' prime minister tells undecided single voters
  • Polls show governing AKP unlikely to regain single-party rule

With polls showing voter intentions almost unchanged since inconclusive elections five months ago, Turkey’s acting prime minister has sweetened his pitch to voters by offering them a matchmaking service.

"You’ve got a job, you’ve got a salary, you’ve got food on the table. What’s left? What’s left is to find a partner," Ahmet Davutoglu, who led the AKP to its first-ever loss of a parliamentary majority in June, said at a campaign rally in the southeastern town of Sanliurfa on Thursday. "If you decide you want a spouse, first you go to your parents. Hopefully they’ll find you a felicitous match. But if not, come to us," he said.

Ahmet Davutoglu addresses supporters

Photographer: Hakan Goktepe/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The offer of a dating service is a novel gambit in a campaign season where most appeals to voters have come in the form of bargaining on the minimum wage. The parties are competing for incremental changes at the ballot box, after no party won an outright majority in the last election and none of the four could agree on a coalition government. The most reliable polls show the ruling AK Party will again lack the support needed to form a single-party government when the ballot’s repeated on Nov. 1.

While the Islamist-rooted AKP’s been criticized for interference in citizens’ lifestyles before, clamping down on the length of love scenes in TV shows and banning apps that help people to hook up without the state as intermediary, romance has a new emphasis in the party’s rhetoric ahead of the rescheduled elections. Posters in Turkish cities show Davutoglu’s face alongside a caption urging voters to rekindle old feelings for the party.

"All together, with the love we felt on day one," the posters say. But the main slogan in this campaign is a call for a return to single-party government: "All alone, on the job."

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