The study released by Bahçeşehir University sheds light on Turkey's perspective on abortion, a topic of debate recently ignited by Prime Minister Erdoğan's statement that he believes abortion equates to murder.
The study, conducted by Prof. Dr. Yılmaz Esmer at the Bahçeşehir University Economic and Societal Research Center (BETAM) entitled 'Turkish and European Public Opinion Survey 1990-2011' shows that over the past 20 years there has been a 50 percent decrease in support for abortion.
In 1991 support for abortion was at 60 percent
The study asks 1,000 participants the questions: 'Would you approve of abortion if the mother was unmarried?' and 'Do you approve of abortion if a married couple does not want to have more children?' in 1991, 2001 and 2008. According to the results, the 65 percent rate of support for abortion in 1991 has decreased as the years passed.
As religious belief increases, support for abortion wanes
According to Prof. Dr. Esmer, as the level of education increases amongst survey participants the level of support for abortion decreases, a finding especially noted in 2008 as abortion as a form of birth control became more frequent. Party preferences is another factor that influences support for abortion, with the AKP more evidently against abortion that the main opposition CHP. Prof. Dr. Esmer explains that the importance of religion is on the rise, which is negatively affecting the support for abortion, and states, "The more importance placed on God in a person's life, the more that individual is against abortion. Also as political ideology veers from the left towards the right, support for abortion begins to wane."
CITIZENS SHARE PRIME MINISTER'S STANCE
According to Prof. Yılmaz Esmer's evaluations, if a referendum were held today against abortion, it would receive significant public support.
"If the Prime Minister had brought up the issue of abortion 20 years ago, it may have not been received well. However, it appears that there is now a significant increase in those that are against abortion. If this had just been three to five percent, we would have said it was due to an error in the study, however when there is a 30 percent deviation, it then appears that the public's stance is the same as the Prime Ministers," says Esmer.