Turks love only … Turks
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images This year’s Transatlantic Trends survey (put out by the German Marshall Fund) lists a slew of facts and figures on how the West is “losing” Turkey. Turks’ attitudes towards the U.S. (11 degrees on the “feelings” thermometer), the EU (26°), and Israel (5°) remain icy as usual. But this isn’t anything all ...
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images
This year’s Transatlantic Trends survey (put out by the German Marshall Fund) lists a slew of facts and figures on how the West is “losing” Turkey. Turks’ attitudes towards the U.S. (11 degrees on the “feelings” thermometer), the EU (26°), and Israel (5°) remain icy as usual. But this isn’t anything all that new: The Pew Global Attitudes Survey released earlier this year pegged Turks as having the most unfavorable view of the United States (check out FP‘s list on America’s admirers).
And Turkey’s chilly gaze isn’t just aimed at the West. In the GMF poll, Turks came out as having the strongest dislike for Russia (21°) and China (28°) out of the whole group. So that leaves Turkey with a friend list of about one: itself. Turkish self-love came out to a sizzling 86°.
But what really struck me was the extreme disconnect between Turks and their European neighbors on the likelihood of future EU membership. Here are the responses to, “How likely or not do you think it is that Turkey will join the European Union:”
Very likely: UK (32%), Netherlands (25%), Romania (19%) … Turkey (4%)
Not likely at all: Poland (2%), Romania (4%), Italy (4%) … Turkey (34%)
Honestly, I’m not sure where all this European optimism is coming from. Despite encouraging words from the UK’s newest Foreign Secretary David Miliband and hopes that Turkey’s new AKP leadership will push full-steam ahead with reforms, France and Germany will not be so easy to win over. And look how well Cyprus negotiations are going. But you get a different story when you ask Europeans if they consider Turkish membership a good or bad thing for the continent: here the EU populace is extremely lukewarm, as they’ve been in the past, with 31 percent viewing membership as detrimental and 42 percent expressing indifference. So, if this survey tells us anything, it’s that Turkish respondents have a sneaking suspicion that they are being led on by Europe, and they aren’t too happy about it.
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