Turkey more willing to re-engage with EU and NATO, survey

11 September, 15:12

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 11 - This year's Transatlantic Trends, a survey of public opinion in the United States, Russia, Turkey and 10 European Union member states, found that Turkish respondents, who have been less engaged in the transatlantic relationship over the past several years, appeared to be more willing to re-engage with the EU and NATO, indicating a significant shift in regard to Turkish public opinion. As Today's Zaman online reports, the number of Turkish people who think EU membership would be a good thing for Turkey increased to 53%, an increase of 8 percentage points from last year. Those who think NATO is still essential for Turkey's security increased to 49&, representing a 10 percentage point increase from last year and an increase of 19 percentage points from 2010. "More significantly... those Turks who don't approve (of) the Turkish government's foreign policy support for EU membership increased from 32% in 2013 to 50% in 2014," said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the Ankara director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) which releases the annual survey. The Turkish public's earlier distancing, then warming thoughts toward the EU and NATO can be explained by developments in the region and the world, he told Today's Zaman, saying that it was before 2010, when the Arab uprisings started, that Turkish society was feeling distant toward the West, Europe, the United States and NATO; Turkey was feeling, for the first time in decades if not centuries, few direct security threats.

    Moreover, he noted that the idea that Turkey can democratize without the EU's guidance hit a wall with the way the Turkish government chose to deal with the Gezi protests and corruption claims. (ANSAmed).

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