Washington, DC – As Turkey prepares for elections on July 22, a new poll by IRI highlights the issues that Turks are most concerned about.  Unemployment and terrorism rank among voters’ top priorities.  These are also the areas where Turks give their current government the lowest marks.

Forty percent of Turks believe the country is heading in the right direction, up three percentage points since IRI’s previous survey in November 2006.  Moreover, 60 percent of the poll’s respondents judge a single-party government necessary for economic stability.

The events that forced Turkey’s calling of early parliamentary elections have divided public opinion.  Forty-two percent of respondents believe the Constitutional Court decision precipitating early elections was justified, while 43 percent think it was an unfair decision for the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Similarly, 41 percent of Turks support the armed forces’ suggestion that Turkey faces a threat to its secular order, with 36 percent opposed.  At the same time, Turks seem less alarmed by actual changes to Turkey’s secular order since AKP was elected in 2002: 43 percent believe Turkey has not become more religious, and 16 percent think the country has become more secular.

In the area of foreign affairs, 52 percent of Turks believe membership in the European Union would be good for the country, and 58 percent would vote for membership if a referendum were held. Respondents’ top three reasons for supporting membership were increased economic development, free movement of Turkish citizens in Europe and the strengthening of Turkish democracy.

More than 1,500 interviews were conducted between May 31-June 7, 2007.  The sample size included 300 additional youth as they comprise a growing share of the Turkish electorate.  The margin of error is plus or minus 2.57 percent.

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