Nearly 60 percent of Turkish people oppose deploying troops to Libya, according to a report prepared by Istanbul Economics Research, which carried out a poll to determine the society’s perception on foreign relations with a total of 1,537 people in 12 provinces.
According to the report, 58 percent of those surveyed opposed sending troops to Libya, while 34 percent said that they support the move. Those who said that they don’t have any idea stood at eight percent.
Turkey’s parliament on Jan. 2 approved a motion on deploying troops to Libya upon a request from the country’s internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
The GNA has been trying to repel an attack by Khalifa Haftar’s forces, called the Libyan National Army (LNA) on Tripoli.
The motion was approved with the votes of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the İYİ (Good) Party voted against it.
According to the poll, some 57 percent of AKP supporters said that they are in favor of sending troops to Libya, while 30 percent said that they oppose it.
One of the surprising outcomes of the poll is the low level of support shown by MHP supporters, with only 33 percent backing troop deployment, while 58 percent said that they are against the move.
The highest opposition level was observed among HDP supporters, with a striking 91 percent opposing sending troops to the war-torn country.
The low level of support to the government’s Libya move is in stark contrast to those shown to the country’s military operations in northern Syria, which were higher than 75 percent.
Turkey carried out three military operations in three years in northern Syria – Operation Euphrates Shield in 2017, Olive Branch in 2018 and Peace Spring in 2019 – against the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey perceives the YPG as a terrorist group due to the group’s links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a group designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.
The difference in levels of support shown to Libya and Syria stems from the fact that the YPG is near the border, hence being perceived as an imminent threat, while the possible gains of a military intervention in Libya are far from affecting the daily lives of the people, the report said.
According to the poll, 75 percent of the society thinks that Turkey should assume the role of a mediator instead of being a party to the conflicts.
Some 23 percent of AKP voters think that Turkey should pick a side and support it, the poll said.
When asked about who was the most successful foreign minister in Turkey in the past 20 years, 18.2 percent of the participants said Abdullah Gül, who was followed by Ali Babacan with 15.7 percent.
When the preferred names are examined, it was seen that the people prefer a foreign policy that assumes the role of mediator and that’s close to the EU, instead of one that’s interventionist.