Poll reveals most Turkish citizens do not care about EU accession

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

A recent poll has found out that a majority of Turkish citizens are indifferent to Ankara's European Union accession bid amid unprecedented strained relations between Ankara and Brussels due to a variety of issues.

According to the survey conducted by the Objective Research Center (ORC) between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, more than three-quarters of respondents do not care about joining the EU following the Turkey's squabble with it.

The survey was conducted among people in 35 provinces as part of efforts to understand what people think about Turkey's current agenda. A total of 2,580 people participated via telephone, and 77.3 percent of those surveyed were apathetic to Ankara's accession to the EU. In contrast to the majority of participants, 22.7 percent of those surveyed value accession to the EU.

The survey found that many Turkish citizens have a negative attitude of the EU. In 2016, the EU demanded Turkey revise its counterterrorism law in exchange for being granting visa-free travel to Turkish citizens after a migrant deal was reached in March 2016. Ankara argued against the suggestion, asserting that it cannot revise the counterterrorism law as it faces with serious threats of terrorism.

Following the migrant deal, the European Commission asked Ankara to change its legislation and practices regarding terrorism. Upon Ankara's decision to not revise the law, the EU, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Germany, started to criticize the Turkish government for alleged human rights violations and arbitrary judicial processes. Since then, visa-free travel has not been expected any time soon. As well as the problematic visa liberation issue, Turkey's full membership bid is also not on the agenda. Relations between Ankara and the EU came to a halt following the recent crisis with Germany.

The survey also found 63 percent of those surveyed are hopeful for the future whereas 32.5 percent are not and 4.3 percent preferred not to respond to the question.

According to the survey results, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would take 47.4 percent of the vote if an early election were to happen, the Republican People's Party (CHP) would garner 26.3 percent and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would win 10.7 percent. The Democratic Peoples' Party (HDP) and Meral Akşener's new party would receive 7.3 and 6.2 percent, respectively.

As for Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), cross-border operations, the survey results show that 65.1 percent of interviewees supported them in contrast to 27 percent who said that the TSK should not carry out cross-border operations. A total of 7.9 percent of the participants did not answer.

The survey results show 74 percent of respondents support operations carried out against the PKK, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETO), Daesh and other terrorist-affiliated organizations while 21.6 percent of respondents oppose the operations and 4.4 percent of participants preferred to not answer the question.

According to the survey, 55 percent of participants support President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 48 percent of participants support Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, 35.7 of participants support CHP Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu and 32.9 percent said they support MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli.

Considering the country's founding principles, 65 percent of participants said that the Republic and laicism in Turkey is not under threat, 29.5 percent believe it is and 5.5 percent did not respond.

The survey found that CHP supporters believe that Kılıçdaroğlu should remain the chairman of the party. An overwhelming majority, 80.9 percent, said that they do not think that Kılıçdaroğlu should quit his post. A small number, 15.3 percent of those surveyed, were in favor of a change in the CHP chairmanship and 3.8 percent did not answer. In response to an open-ended question in the survey about who should be a candidate for the president, 58.1 percent said that Kılıçdaroğlu should be a candidate for the presidency while 41.9 percent named other figures for the upcoming elections in 2019.

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