The last published results “of the Study of the perception of Turkish foreign policy in public opinion”, which is the Center of Turkish studies at the University of Kadir has conducts every year. According to the study, Azerbaijan is considered the closest friend of Turkey, and the United States take the first place in the list of countries that pose a threat to Turkey.
The survey was conducted in the form of personal conversations among thousands of people over the age of 18 to 26 [(an administrative unit of Turkey — approx. TRANS.) Turkey representative of the demographic structure of the country (head of research — the rector of the University of Kadir has, Professor Mustafa Aydin (Mustafa Aydın); coordinator — teacher of the Department of international relations of Kadir has University, Professor Blue Akgül Acikmese (Sinem Akgül Açıkmeşe)). Respondents were asked questions about events that guide Turkish foreign policy, especially bilateral relations of Turkey with Syria, the US and the European Union. An increasing number of people struggle with terrorism is regarded as a “foreign policy problem”. This shows that terrorism is perceived in the public mind not as an internal problem of the country, and as a matter of foreign policy.
Closest friend — Azerbaijan, the largest threat — USA
When answering the question “what country is the closest friend of Turkey?” respondents again called Azerbaijan, and in comparison with last year the figure was 12%. While last year in favor of this point of view expressed 59,3%, this year is 71.3%. The number of those who believe that “Turkey has no friends”, has decreased to 17.2% (compared with 23.1 per cent last year).
In 2016, the list of countries that were considered a threat to Turkey, at the forefront of countries in the Middle East. However, this year the championship went to the USA, and in comparison with last year, the United States regarded as the biggest threat by 22.4% of respondents more. The second biggest threat for Turkey, 37.4% of respondents called Israel. The greatest attention is paid to the fact that the EU, which last year was a threat from the point of view of 10.4% of respondents in this year took third place in the ranking of countries that pose a threat to Turkey, the figure is 24%. Meanwhile, the level of perception of Russia as a threat fell from 34.9% to 18.5%.
Turkey should pursue a neutral policy towards Syria
If the answer to the question “what, in your opinion, should be Turkey’s policy towards Syria?” Of 49.9%, i.e. half of the respondents said: “Turkey should remain neutral and don’t have anyway to interfere”. The level of dissatisfaction of the Syrian migrants since last year has not changed. 54.5 per cent expressed dissatisfaction, and 17.5 percent said they were satisfied with the migrants. 28% of respondents could not give a definite answer. 46,4% of respondents believe that it is necessary to stop to accept migrants.
Hopes for Turkey’s membership in the EU is melting
Another point that draws attention from year to year, the people of Turkey have less support for the country’s accession process to the EU. At the moment, support for Turkish membership in the EU is at the level of 48.4 per cent. In 2015 the number of those who claimed: “Turkey can never become a full member of the EU,” accounted for 47.6%. Last year this figure increased to 66.7%, and this year to 81.3%. At the same time, the number of those who advocate the creation of another model in the relations between Turkey and the EU instead of full membership remained at 30.4%. An increase in the number of supporters of the view that Turkey as an alternative to membership in the EU should develop strategic cooperation with Russia (27.6% vs 14.8 percent). At the same time, despite all the negative events, the people of Turkey do not believe that Turkey or the EU will soon cease to membership negotiations. So, the EU will not stop the negotiations, according to 70% and 73,7% are convinced that Turkey will not stop the negotiations.