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Thread: Poll shows that Turks would prefer ties with Middle East over European Union

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    Default Poll shows that Turks would prefer ties with Middle East over European Union

    European leaders have long ignored the concerns of their own peoples when it comes to the prospect of Turkey joining the European Union. Now a poll reveals that the Turkish people themselves are getting fed up: they've noticed the less-than-enthusiastic reception from Europeans and they would prefer for Turkey to seek ties with fellow Middle Eastern countries, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. Whither Turkish secularism? David Cameron will no doubt be upset at hearing this news. Will the Turkish "elites" continue to push for Turkish entry into the EU?

    Turks believe focus should be on Middle East and away from Europe

    Turkey sees its interests increasingly better served by greater involvement in the Middle East, and is relatively untroubled by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, according to an opinion poll today which highlighted the widening gulf between Ankara and the west.

    Growing frustration in Turkey at the lack of progress towards joining the European Union, as well as strong popular hostility in Germany and France to having the Turks in the union, were also underlined by the survey.

    The annual Transatlantic Trends survey was conducted in 11 EU countries, the US and Turkey, by the institution called The German Marshall Fund of the United States. The poll found that 20% of Turks believed their primary partners should be Middle East countries, while 13% favoured the EU. Compared with last year, that almost halved support for the EU while doubling the figure for engagement with the Middle East.

    "It's only 20%, but it's a dramatic shift in just a year," said Bruce Stokes, an analyst with the fund.

    The shift reflected in the poll perhaps relates to recent events: in May Turkey's government struck a nuclear fuel deal with Iran and voted against UN sanctions over Tehran, signalling a more robust regional foreign policy that alarmed western capitals; also, in the same month, the Israeli commando raid on the Turkish-organised aid flotilla to Gaza further entrenched Ankara's split with the west on Middle East disputes.

    The study notes that Turkey is "almost certainly moving in a direction of less predictability on foreign affairs", regarding its "increasingly assertive foreign policy Turkish public opinion seems to reflect the country's new focus on the Middle East." By contrast, support for integration with the west is seen to be haemorrhaging. Over the past five years, according to the poll, Turkish support for joining the EU has halved to 38%, while only a quarter of Turks now expect their country to join the union one day.

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    Politics.ie Member cry freedom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean O'Brian View Post
    European leaders have long ignored the concerns of their own peoples when it comes to the prospect of Turkey joining the European Union. Now a poll reveals that the Turkish people themselves are getting fed up: they've noticed the less-than-enthusiastic reception from Europeans and they would prefer for Turkey to seek ties with fellow Middle Eastern countries, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. Whither Turkish secularism? David Cameron will no doubt be upset at hearing this news. Will the Turkish "elites" continue to push for Turkish entry into the EU?

    Turks believe focus should be on Middle East and away from Europe
    Great! Away with them then.
    Solves a big problem as far as I am concerned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean O'Brian View Post
    European leaders have long ignored the concerns of their own peoples when it comes to the prospect of Turkey joining the European Union. Now a poll reveals that the Turkish people themselves are getting fed up: they've noticed the less-than-enthusiastic reception from Europeans and they would prefer for Turkey to seek ties with fellow Middle Eastern countries, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. Whither Turkish secularism? David Cameron will no doubt be upset at hearing this news. Will the Turkish "elites" continue to push for Turkish entry into the EU?
    Politically it makes a lot of sense for Turkey. They can punch well above their weight in the near east. They can forge politically positive and economically beneficial relations with the likes of Syria, Egypt and Iran.

    I think it's a mistake though to overplay the potential for Islamification in Turkey. It has a strong secular tradition, but associated with the military and other elites. Practicing Muslims have had to bite their lip for a long time until the election of the current government. Religion is coming more to the fore there, but I can't see any take-over a la Iran. Turkey is too wealthy and too integrated into western institutions to go a radical route.

    Basically the EU should welcome a Turkey which can play a positive, stabilising role in and around the middle east. The region needs it. It is also potentially a phenomenal trading partner. It should also welcome any developments which enhance Turkey's sense of regional influence and which pull it away from EU membership.

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    Tad missleading. 20% means nothing.
    Out of a population of some 72 million? Seems significant to me, especially when you consider that support for EU entry among Turks is dropping off simultaneously.

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    I'd be careful here.

    Whenever you read about an opinion poll you should ask, "Who paid for it?" This poll was conducted for the The German Marshall Fund, a Fund for Secret Action Specialists? [Voltaire]

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    Noted, OMrG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by McDave View Post
    Basically the EU should welcome a Turkey which can play a positive, stabilising role in and around the middle east. The region needs it. It is also potentially a phenomenal trading partner. It should also welcome any developments which enhance Turkey's sense of regional influence and which pull it away from EU membership.
    In fact Turkish membership would be a calamity for the EU and for the people of Europe.
    A future EU with Turkey as its most powerful state simply doesn't bear thinking about. The unassailable AKP govt is an unreconstructed islamist venture that is getting more and more Turkish citizens onside. The recent constitutional changes (resisted by the cultured and thoroughly westernised business communities in Turkey) has cleared the way for more and more islam. That referendum was in effect the starting gun for the AKP's 2011 election campaign. Turkish EU accession accompanied by tens of millions of Anatolian peasants with freedom of movement throughout the EU is a vista that we and our descendants could very much do without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean O'Brian View Post
    Out of a population of some 72 million?
    In each country, a random sample of approximately 1,000 men and women, 18 years of age and older, were interviewed.
    Transatlantic Trends 2010 - Press Information

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    Yes, well I know there weren't 10 million+ survey respondents. Don't pollsters have methods for gauging an accurate cross-section of society, or what is the purpose of polling?

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