Jun 10 2018

Survey shows spike in Turks who see nation as Islamic country

A recent survey conducted by İstanbul’s Kadir Has University revealed that the percentage of Turks who see Turkey as an Islamic country has soared, while those who see it as a European country has decreased considerably over the last year, independent news site Diken reported.

The university’s annual ‘Turkish Foreign Policy Public Perception poll’ conducted by the Turkey Studies Center for this year is based on 1000 in-person interviews in 26 provinces with Turkish citizens above the age of 18, Diken said.

According to the survey, Turks who see Turkey as an Islamic country increased to 56.3 percent from 16.4 percent in one year, while those who define Turkey as a European country decreased by 13.3 percent to 19.4 percent.

Those who describe Turkey as a Middle Eastern country, the survey found, decreased by 4.1 percent, measuring at 18.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the Kadir Has’ survey revealed that those who see combating terror as problem in Turkey dropped by 30 percent, to 14 percent this year.

Among those surveyed, 26 percent said Syria is the most pressing matter in Turkey’s foreign policy. Those believe Israel is an urgent matter in Turkey’s foreign policy, rose from 8.3 percent las year to 24.2 percent this year.

The survey revealed a rise in the percentage of respondent who believe that Turkey has no friends in the international arena from 17.2 to 22.5 percent.

Those who saw Azerbaijan as the country closest to Turkey dropped to 59 percent from 71.3 percent.

While the United States comprised the greatest threat to Turkey with 60.2 percent, Israel came in second place with 54.4 percent, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, of those surveyed, the percentage who believe that Syria is a threat to Turkey rose from 7.4 to 24.1..

While 68.6 percent found the leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s Syria policy to be unsuccessful, 56 percent said they supported Turkey’s ongoing military operation into northern Syria, which began on Jan. 20.

Sixty-one percent of participants in the survey expressed their frustration with Syrian refugees as compared to 54.5 percent last year.

 Other findings of the survey included 55.1 percent support for Turkey’s EU bid.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Turks who believe there are problems between Turkey and NATO ally Greece rose to 67 percent, showing a 13,3 percent increase since last year.

The relations between two countries has been strained in recent months after a series of developments which include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calling for the renegotiation of the 1923 treaty demarcating the countries’ borders during his visit to Athens in December 2017; the natural gas resources in east Mediterranean; Greece’s refusal to extradite eight Turkish soldiers accused of participating the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016; the arrest of two Greek soldiers by Turkish authorities in March after they crossed the border in bad weather, as well as the historical dispute on Cyprus.