Turks embrace Russia, China, reject U.S. - U.S. State Dept poll

An increasing number of Turks views Russia and China as respectful and reliable partners, eclipsing the number that trusts Turkey’s long-term western allies, polling data from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) has shown.

“Turks’ perceptions of Russia and China as Russia’s and China’s respect for – and reliability toward – Turkey have shaped their views of these country’s as desirable and trustworthy trade partners,” the report said.

A November 2018 INR poll found that 51 percent of Turks view Russia favourably and 43 percent view it unfavourably, a significant rise from June 2018 when the figures were 39 percent favourable to 54 percent unfavourable, the January 7 report said.

Favourable views of China experienced a similar rise from 30 percent to 46 percent over the same period. While Germany also gained 15 percent in the same timeframe, the rise reversed previous losses and only brought the country to a 36 percent favourable rating.

The recent trends are likely the result of the increased cooperation between Turkey and Russia in security and energy areas, but also of anti-western rhetoric employed by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which has implied that western countries are conspiring interests.

INR

Russia has been Turkey’s most proactive partner in Syria, where both countries are collaborating on the Astana peace process. The pair have also deepened their ties in the energy sector, as Russian company Rosatom leads the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and construction continues on the Turkstream pipeline project, which once complete will carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and on to the European Union.

Relations with Washington, meanwhile, have been seriously complicated by contentious issues ranging from Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems to the U.S. support for Kurdish militias in Syria viewed by Ankara as a threat due to their links to Kurdish insurgent groups within Turkey.

INR

Eighty-five percent of Turks said the United States did not treat their country with respect, and just 12 percent said they viewed the country as a reliable partner.

Sixty percent said the United States was not a desirable trading partner, while two thirds thought it important for Turkey to maintain a strong trade relationship with Russia, and 62 percent said the same for China.