Findings from a Turkish university survey announced on Wednesday revealed that the number of Turkish citizens who say “Turkey is a democratic country,” has plummeted 4 percent as compared to one year ago while the number of people who say “Turkish democracy has been weakened” has increased 8 percent and become 36,1 percent.
Results of the privately-owned Kadir Has University’s “2017 Research on Social and Political Trends” has also correlated with Ankara’s increasingly sharp divergence from its main NATO ally and the larger Western camp due to rival policies in the Middle East and growing concerns over the erosion of democracy, rule of law, and human rights in Turkey. The survey has revealed that 64,3 percent of Turkey’s population saw the United States as the biggest threat to their country, with Israel coming second at 61,4 percent.
The university directed questions on domestic politics, economic developments, social relations, and international affairs at 1,000 Turkish adults residing in 26 cities between Dec. 11, 2017, and Jan. 7, 2018, through face to face interviews.
Despite warm ties with London, the United Kingdom at 50,2 percent followed the US and Israel as a threat in the view of Turks.
The war-torn neighboring countries of Iraq and Syria in the south where the Kurds there have set up autonomous regions along the border with Turkey with a slight percentage below 50 were the fourth and fifth respectively in the list of states posing a threat. Next on the list were France, Germany, and Greece, nations of the European Union Ankara has long sought to join.
As friends, China, Russia, and Pakistan were well ahead of Turkey’s official western allies, the US, France, Britain, and Germany, with respondents favoring more cooperation in foreign policy with Turkic nations and Muslim-majority countries as opposed to Washington or the EU. Moreover, 36 percent of the Turks perceived Iran, their country’s regional competitor since imperial times, as dangerous with the small nation of Armenia seen as an even more significant threat with 46,8 percent.
Still, 45 percent of people found the foreign policy of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as successful.