Survey Turkey: One fifth of AKP supporters do not see ISIL as ‘terrorist organisation’

A survey by Gezici Research conducted in October has revealed that the overwhelming majority of Turks do not believe they would receive a fair trial with a judiciary that is seen to be heavily influenced by the political authorities, reports Today’s Zaman.

Most Turks also concluded that an operation against some police chiefs who exposed serious corruption allegations incriminating senior officials in the government, as well as a huge reshuffle in the police, judiciary and civil service, are all aimed at derailing the corruption investigations.

According to the survey, 70 percent of Turks said they believe the government is meddling with the judiciary as opposed to 30 percent. When asked whether they thought they would get a fair trial with the judiciary, 76 percent of those polled responded negatively. Only 24 percent of Turks believe they can get a fair trial in the Turkish justice system.

The participants were also asked whether they believed in the government’s charges leveled against the police investigators who uncovered alleged corruption. Some 72 percent said they do not believe the charges reflect the truth, confirming the generally accepted view in Turkey that the revenge operations against anti-corruption investigators were politically motivated and have nothing to do with any wrongdoing on the part of the police chiefs. Only 28 percent said they believe the government’s version of the operation against the investigators.

Most Turks also expressed concerns about their security after the revenge operations against the police chiefs, according to the survey. Almost 78 percent said they did not feel secure after the detention of the police chiefs in an investigation that was motivated by political considerations. Only 23 percent disagreed.

The Turkish public also does not regard the massive reshuffling of tens of thousands in the civil service, mostly the police and judiciary, to be routine reassignments, according to the poll. Almost 69 percent of Turks said the purpose of the reassignments was to thwart investigations into government officials and produce a verdict that would be favorable for the government. Only 22 percent disagreed with that view, saying that the purpose was to remove those who had neglected their duty. The rest did not express any opinion either way.

The survey, conducted from Oct. 18-19 by Gezici Research, interviewed 3,292 participants over 18 years of age in 36 provinces of Turkey’s seven administrative regions about the current political situation in Turkey.

The survey also revealed that most Turks see the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a terrorist organization. Some 77 percent said they consider ISIL to be a terrorist group, while 14 percent disagreed with that view. The rest said they had not formed an opinion.

When the survey is broken down along political party lines, 21 percent of ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) supporters say they do not see ISIL as terrorist organization.

One of the most alarming results of the survey is that a whopping chunk of participants believe the AK Party government has been supporting radical Islamist organizations. Some 53 percent of respondents said they believe the current government has supported radical Islamist organizations, while some 36 percent disagreed. A little over 11 percent declined to answer.

Almost 59 percent of Turks hold the view that ISIL has operated in Turkey, while 30 percent disagreed. When asked whether extremist terror groups such as ISIL, al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra might stage terrorist acts in Turkey, almost 56 percent said they consider it to be a possibility, while 30 percent responded negatively.

Reflecting a general view in Turkey, almost 84 percent of Turks said they believe the Turkish borders are not secure, while 16 percent disagreed.

As for Turkey’s potential military intervention into Iraq or Syria, most Turks are opposed to the idea, making 74 percent of those surveyed, while 26 percent approved of such a military incursion. Over 60 percent of Turks also opposed the transfer of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to Syria through Turkish territory.

The majority of Turks do not approve of the talks between Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and members of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) as part of settlement talks to end the PKK’s terrorism in Turkey. Almost 73 percent opposed the holding of such negotiations, while 27 percent said they supported them.

Most Turks do not believe that the PKK will disarm and withdraw from Turkish territory as a result of the negotiations. Only 15 percent said the PKK will lay down its arms and leave Turkish soil, while 85 percent said the opposite.

The poll also asked how people would vote if there were national elections tomorrow. According to the results, 41.4 percent of people said they would vote for the AK Party, while 27.4 percent would choose the Republican People’s Party (CHP). The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 19.7 percent, while the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) took 8.1 percent.

A majority of Turkish voters, including those who generally support the AK Party, believe that Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will not remain politically neutral.

In response to the question, “Do you believe that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will assume an impartial stance during his term in office?,” 58.3 percent of those surveyed, including 40.2 percent of AK Party voters, said, “No.” Only 36.5 percent said they believed the president would behave impartially, and 5.2 percent said they had no opinion.

In response to a question on whether Erdoğan will remain at an equal distance from all political parties as president, 61.2 percent said “No,” 30.5 percent said “Yes,” and 8.3 percent said they did not have an opinion.

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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