According to the annual Research on Public Perceptions on Turkish Foreign Policy – 2019, conducted by the Center for Turkish Studies of Kadir Has University, almost 81.3% of Turkey’s population considers the USA to be the greatest threat to the country. Last year it was 60.2%. It is noteworthy that over the past year the number of people who consider America to be the biggest threat has grown by 21.1%.
According to Turkish citizens, the main problem of foreign policy is relations with the United States, at the same time 42.1% of respondents believe that Turkey needs to pursue a neutral policy in Syria. 44% of respondents are convinced of the correctness of the decision to purchase the S-400, despite the displeasure of NATO and the American threat of imposing sanctions, 24.9% hold the opposite opinion.
MAIN PROBLEM: USA
Answering the question “in your opinion, what is the main problem of Turkish foreign policy?”, 20.6% of respondents named relations with the United States, 18.3% – cross-border terrorism. The civil war in Syria, which last year was called the main problem by 26% of respondents, ranked third this year.
ERDOGAN DEFINES FOREIGN POLICY
The population considers the President is the main figure determining the direction of foreign policy. If last year to the question “Who, in your opinion, has the greatest influence on the foreign policy strategy in Turkey?” 68.8% answered “President”, then this year 72.2% of respondents expressed this point of view. At the same time, 62, 9% of respondents believe that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the structure that most influences foreign policy.
According to the study, the number of people who consider Turkey an Islamic country, like last year, was 46%, 17.6% called it a European country, and 16, 3% a Middle Eastern country. Meanwhile, 28.5% chose the answer “Turkey is a country with inherent features”, which was presented for the first time this year.
MORE AND MORE PEOPLE BELIEVE IN AMERICAN THREAT
To the question “Which country is the most friendly Turkey?” most respondents named Azerbaijan. Their number compared with the previous year increased by 10.6% and amounted to 65.3%.
Azerbaijan, with lower rates compared to last year, is followed by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Central Asian Turkic republics.
As for the countries that pose a threat to Turkey, the United States ranks first with an indicator of 81.3% (last year this figure was 60.2%).
The situation is similar with Israel. Last year, 54.4% of respondents called it a threat, and this year the figure reached 70.8% and brought Israel to second place in the list of countries threatening Turkey.
USA IS UNRELIABLE COUNTRY
As in the past year, 39.4% of respondents called the United States an unreliable country that cannot be trusted, 22.6% consider America to be an “invader country”.
When asked what the main problem in relations between Turkey and the United States is, 60.5% called the “fight against terrorism”, 37.3% called “America’s support for the Kurdish forces PYD”.
WILL TURKEY ENTER THE EU?
Another noteworthy moment was the increase in Turkish support for the idea of Turkey’s membership in the EU. While last year, 55.1% of respondents answered in the affirmative to the question “Do you support the idea of Turkey’s accession to the EU?”, This year their number increased to 61.1%. 20.3% of respondents expressed the view that Turkey can become a member of the EU in 5-10 years.
As for the political affiliation of respondents, the idea of joining the EU is supported by 58.5% of the AKP voters, 73.7% of the CHP voters and 60.2% of the MHP.
53% of the population are convinced that neither Turkey nor the EU will stop the negotiation process, and believe that it should be continued.
MEMBERSHIP IN NATO SHOULD BE CONTINUED
To the question “which direction of foreign policy should be given priority?” 62% of respondents answered “strengthening political relations with other countries.” In addition, this year 33.9% pointed to the need to develop economic cooperation with other countries.
60.8% of survey participants are convinced of the need to continue Turkey’s membership in NATO, 50.3% believe that membership benefits the country, 69.6% note that the main advantage of membership is “NATO support in case of a possible attack.”
CYPRUS IS THE MAIN PROBLEM IN TURKISH-GREEK RELATIONS
The survey showed that the main issue in relations between Turkey and Greece is the Cyprus issue. To the question “Is there a problem between Turkey and Greece?” 30.3% of respondents answered “yes” to the question “what is the biggest problem between the two countries?” 55% of respondents answered “disagreements over Cyprus”, 53.8% – “arming of the Aegean islands”.
In a survey for the first time this year, 41.7% of participants called the “accession of Northern Cyprus to Turkey” to the solution of the Cyprus issue, while support for the model of a bicommunal federative state among the Turkish public decreased to 30.1%.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH RUSSIA
To the question “how do you assess the relations between Turkey and Russia?” 26.1% of respondents answered “there is a strategic partnership,” according to 34.3%, the main area of cooperation between the two countries is energy, 27.9% called trade and economic cooperation.
TURKEY SHOULD REMAIN ON NEUTRAL POSITIONS IN SYRIA
42.1% of respondents believe that Turkey needs to pursue a neutral policy towards Syria and refrain from military intervention in the region. 13.3% note that it is necessary to help only refugees.
At the same time, when asked about what should be the Turkish policy towards refugees, 57.6% responded that it was necessary to stop receiving refugees. Last year, 13.6% of respondents answered that they were satisfied with the presence of refugees in the country. This year, this figure fell to 7%.