Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Poll reveals Turks see the US as threat, Greeks Turkey

Today's Zaman İstanbul

A joint public opinion survey simultaneously conducted in Greece and Turkey has concluded that while Greeks view Turkey as the major threat to their country, for Turks, the US poses the greatest threat to their national security.

The Athens-based Elefterotipia daily newspaper published the results of the "Infacto Research Workshop" conducted by the Turkish Bilgi University and "KAPA Research" conducted by the Greek Center for Political Research and Communication (KPEE).

The research's section on Turkey indicates that 77.7 percent of the surveyed Greeks view Turkey as threat. In the survey Turkey is followed by Albania (5.6 percent) and Macedonia (2.3 percent).

For Turks the US is the most eminent source of threat with 35.6 percent. It is followed by a probable Kurdish state in northern Iraq with 25.8 percent and Greece with 9.5 percent. The EU is ranked fourth in the list of top threats (5.5 percent) and Israel is fifth (4.2 percent), according to the survey. Iraq (3.4 percent), Armenia (2.9 percent) and Iran (1.5 percent) followed in the list.

The research also shows that both Turks and Greeks see themselves as nations with no friend or significant ally. Of those surveyed, 71.3 percent of Turks and 54.5 percent of the Greeks believe that they have no political friends.

Majority of Turks say Atatürk represents nationalist values

Asked who they think represents their country's nationalist conscience, 85.6 percent of Turks said it was Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic. Mehmet Akif Ersoy, author of Turkey's national anthem, was ranked second. Eighteen percent of Greek participants answered the same question with Dionosis Solomos, the author of the national anthem, and 16.1 percent said military hero Theodoros Kolokotronis.

Asked what they believed would not befit their national values, 45.1 percent of Turks said atheism; 38.1 percent being Christian or Jewish; 23.1 percent homosexuality; 20.8 percent communism; 19.4 percent fanatical Islam; and 8.1 percent said extreme nationalism. For the same question, 47 percent of Greeks said being anti-democratic; 29.4 percent extreme nationalism; 20.9 percent being Muslim or Jewish; 16.4 percent atheism; 12.8 percent empathizing with Turks and Albanians; and 6.2 percent said homosexuality.

In response to questions on the EU, while 63.1 of Turks would vote for EU membership if a referendum were held, 50 percent believe the EU is trying to divide Turkey.

The research also revealed that 75 percent of Greeks believe there are still Greek territories that wait to be liberated from the yoke of foreign occupation. Nearly 18 percent of Greeks describe İstanbul, the Black Sea region, the Aegean coasts and northern Cyprus as "lost land," and believe these lands should be taken back by force; however 80.35 percent believe it is not necessary for the military to intervene.

A majority of both populations prefer to use domestic products instead of foreign products, even if the latter is less expensive. Turks perceive the Ottoman Empire and the period of the republic to be the most successful period, while Greeks perceive the ancient Greek era and rule of Byzantium Empire to be their golden periods.

In response to the question "who has contributed the most to promoting your country?" 15.5 percent of Turks said national soccer team coach Fatih Terim while 20 percent of Greeks said actress and singer Melina Mercouri.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

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