83 percent of Turks favour renewable energy over coal - survey

Turks overwhelmingly support renewable energy over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s preference for coal and are concerned about climate change, according to a survey published by the Climate Home News website.

Erdoğan, facing June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, plans to massively expand coal power. But only 17 percent of respondents to the survey conducted in March maintained that coal power should be used and 83 percent preferred renewable energy, the site said, citing a survey by İklim Haber and Turkish Konda polling company.

While 75 percent of the 2,595 participants said they worried about climate change, only 8 percent believed the Turkish government was “strongly likely” to take action against it.

Among supporters of Erdoğan’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), this figure only rose to 16 percent.

Only China, India and Vietnam have more coal power plants than Turkey, where the president has set about a large expansion of the sector.

However more than half of Turks - 53.1 percent - oppose coal power being built near them, while 68.2 percent stand against nearby nuclear power plants.

The survey cited by the website found that 86 percent of respondents thought climate change was happening. Findings demonstrated that a higher proportion of Turkish people were “very worried” or “extremely worried” about climate change than the European average.

Despite a surge in meteorological disasters, such as floods and heat waves, climate change has not been a major topic on the agenda of candidates as Turkey heads to the polls.