Washington, DC – IRI conducted a comprehensive, nationally representative poll in Turkey from May 8 – 16, 2010. By examining Turks’ views on a variety of national and international topics, as well as attitudes on local government, the survey provides fresh insights into Turkey’s socio-economic and political trends.
The governing Justice and Development Party has dominated Turkey for the past decade, but IRI’s poll suggests there are opportunities for opposition parties to make up ground in the next general elections, particularly if they focus their efforts on the economy. IRI’s poll reveals that 56 percent of Turks believe the country is going in the wrong direction, with the economy and jobs being their chief concerns. Moreover, 85 percent of respondents identified unemployment as either the first or second most urgent problem facing Turkey. Turks are concerned that their representatives are not paying enough attention to these problems: a 43 percent plurality say politicians are not talking enough about economic issues. This could have implications for the next general elections, as a 56 percent combined majority responded that economic stability and fighting unemployment would be the most important issues to them in the next election.
In contrast to the national outlook, attitudes toward local government tend to be more positive. Sixty-three percent of respondents believe their municipality is heading in the right direction. IRI’s poll also revealed that there is considerable public interest for greater personal involvement in the oversight of local government. Sixty-three percent of Turks said they would participate, at some level, if citizen councils were formed to audit the decisions and practices of their municipal governments.
The survey also explored some of the most publicly debated national issues in Turkey, including the government’s controversial constitutional reform package. With constitutional amendments approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly and slated for a referendum in September, a slim 51 percent majority believes that the constitution needs to be amended.
Finally, despite increasing concern that Turkey and the European Union (EU) are drifting apart, 63 percent of Turks still believe that their country’s membership in the EU is a good thing. At the same time, only 51 percent would actually vote for Turkey’s EU membership if a referendum were held today.Top