In the past ten years, Turkey's foreign policy has experienced major shifts in alliances. While it bolstered its relations with some countries, it undermined other alliances. For the past five years in particular, Turkey's close ties with Russia and other countries in the East has drawn it away from NATO and the EU.
Yet amid rising tensions with Russia in Syria, the question arose of whether Turkey has any real allies on the international stage. At TürkiyeRaporu.com, we asked our respondents to rate the following countries and international organizations based on how much they trust them.
A quick glance at our results shows that the Turkish public's confidence in other countries is extremely low. The average trust level for the given countries and international organizations is 1.42/5. While the highest trust level went to Qatar at 1.67/5, the lowest trust level went to the US with 1.19. Despite recent clashes with Russia on the Syrian battlefront, Russia had the second lowest trust level with 1.23/5, which remains above the trust level vis-à-vis the US.
Upon examination of the age breakdown of our survey participants, one can notice that for the 18-24 age group, the trust levels are always higher than the grand average for every country or international organization. On the other hand, for the age groups 25-34, 35-44, and 45-45 the average trust level for every country or international organization is below the grand average except for Saudi Arabia. Finally, for those participants older than 65 years old, the highest trust level is for NATO, while the lowest trust level is for Saudi Arabia. This age group also has the lowest trust level for Qatar among all age groups, despite Qatar having the highest overall average.
A breakdown of our participants' political views yielded some interesting results. AKP and MHP voters seem to have similar trust levels in that the highest and lowest trust levels for both parties are Qatar and the US, respectively. Their trust levels are also below the grand average for China and NATO. CHP, İYİ Party and HDP voters also seem to have similar trust levels in that the highest and lowest trust levels for all three of these parties are NATO and the US, respectively. The second highest trust level for all three of these parties is the EU, while the trust level for Qatar is below the grand average. These results demonstrate that there is a clear difference between the People’s Alliance and the Nation Alliance when it comes to foreign relations. An interesting result, however, is that MHP and HDP voters have the lowest average trust levels amongst all political parties.
The bottom line of this story is that Turkish society has lost faith in its allies and neighbors. This applies to the entire population and a host of factors explains this. Turkish foreign policy has been inconsistent which often confuses the public. Yet our Western allies are also to blame. Particularly, following the 2016 coup attempt, the Turkish people felt mistreated by the West. The EU's current stance on the refugee crisis does not help.