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Survey: 4 out 5 in Turkey consider ISIL a terrorist organization

Saturday 27 September 2014



The only similar survey, in a Middle Eastern Arab country, was the survey published, this week, by al-Qabas daily of Kuweit. Undertaken by professor Fatima al-Salem of the Kuweit University, the Kuweiti survey was limited to Kuweitis active on social networks- which would probably indicate a younger and more educated sample of the Kuweiti population.

80 percent of Kuweitis do not feel sympathetic toward ISIL. 75 percent have a negative opinion of ISIL and condemn its criminal practices. However, only 42,1 of Kuweitis (active in social networks) consider ISIL as a "terrorist organization".

On the other hand, 12,5 percent of Kuweitis think favorably of ISIL (against only 1 percent in Turkey) "for religious and ideological reasons or because they are wary of "a Western Conspiracy againt the Arab region". Even more, 7,5 percent of Kuwaitis polled have no opinion and did not express any negative opinions towards ISIL.

Pierre Akel

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Survey: 4 out 5 in Turkey consider ISIL a terrorist organization

A survey by MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center conducted in September has revealed that almost 80 percent of Turks see the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a terrorist organization, a nine-point jump from a survey conducted in June that indicated 71 percent of Turks considered it a terrorist organization.

According to the survey, titled “September 2014, The Pulse of Turkey,” which was conducted on Sept. 16-18 in 26 provinces of Turkey, only 8.9 percent of the 1,876 polled said they do not perceive ISIL as a terrorist organization, while the rest did not have an opinion or declined to respond. The poll also concluded that 94 percent of Turks do not feel sympathetic toward ISIL and only 1 percent said they think favorably of ISIL.

It appears that ISIL’s increasing attacks against Turkmens, Kurds, Alevis, Yazidis and others in Syria and Iraq; the beheadings of foreign nationals and the kidnapping of Turkish citizens have contributed to the rising awareness of ISIL in Turkish society.

According to the MetroPOLL survey, 53 percent of Turks said ISIL has an organized presence in Turkey, with 26 percent saying the opposite; meanwhile, 21 percent said they did not have an opinion on the issue or did not respond. This is not very different from the June survey, which showed that 51 percent believed ISIL existed in Turkey, with 26 percent disagreeing.

The participants were also asked if they are worried that al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front or ISIL would conduct a terrorist attack inside Turkey; 53 percent said “yes” and 27 percent said “no,” while 20 percent said they did not have an opinion on that or declined to answer. In the June survey, the number of people who were worried about threat was 49 percent, which indicates that more people today are worried about possibility of an attack by ISIL in Turkish territory.

When asked whether the Turkish government should prevent the activities of ISIL in Turkey, 76 percent of Turks responded with an affirmative answer while only 10 percent said the government should not interfere with the group’s activities.

The fact that many people want the government to stop ISIL’s activities even though a lesser percentage of people believe ISIL has actually been organizing itself in Turkish territory indicates that people are worried over a possible attack on Turkish soil regardless of where the terrorist group has organized itself. Turks’ strong demand from the government to halt ISIL’s activities in Turkey cut across political party affiliations as well.

When the survey is broken down along political party lines, 73 percent of ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) supporters want the government to prevent ISIL’s activities in Turkey, compared to 82 percent among the main opposition Republican Peoples’ party (CHP) supporters, 73 percent among the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters and 83 percent of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) supporters.

When asked whether the Turkish government should cooperate with regional and world powers against ISIL, 61 percent of Turks said “yes” while 23 percent said “no,” with the remainder expressing no opinion or declining to respond.

That is quite striking in the sense that most Turks seem to support Turkey’s intervention into Syria as part of a regional and global coalition to eliminate ISIL’s terrorism. In MetroPOLL’s 2011 and 2012 surveys, only 29 percent and 31 percent of Turks, respectively, supported Turkish participation in a NATO military intervention into Syria.

In response to a question of whether Turkey should take a part in an international coalition to battle ISIL, 52 percent of Turks said “yes” while 30 percent said “no.” The rest did not express any opinion or did not respond. The survey also questioned how many people in Turkey condone violence in the name of Islam. According to the results, 83 percent of Turks do not agree with resorting to violence on behalf of Islam while 13 percent said violence may be used in the name of Islam.

Today’s Zaman

ISIL is a threat to Turkey

GÜVEN SAK


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