Gallup Poll: Turks Have Dim View of US

Nearly half of Turkish residents have a negative view of the United States, according to a Gallup Poll commissioned by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, parent organization of VOA. Turks also gave the United States considerably higher marks for schools and business opportunities than interracial harmony, protection of human rights or efforts to fight international crime.

Only 12.4 percent of the respondents said they felt very favorably about America, with 29.8 percent saying they felt somewhat favorably. Another 33 percent viewed the United States very unfavorably and 14 percent ranked it somewhat unfavorably. Just under 12 percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer.

The survey was conducted last year but publicly released only Wednesday, hours after President Donald Trump held his first telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish presidential sources said the two leaders agreed to cooperate in the fight against Islamic State extremists in Syria, and that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would soon visit Turkey.

In the Gallup survey, Russia ranked even worse than the United States, with 44.1 seeing it very unfavorably — up from 33 percent three years earlier — and 18 percent viewing it “somewhat unfavorably” amid tensions over Moscow’s involvement in Syria and Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet that violated its airspace in November 2015.

The poll of 1,700 Turkish adults and 500 Kurdish speakers was conducted May 12-June 19, before an attempted coup by Turkey’s army on July 15. While the country’s relations with the U.S. have become more strained since then, cooperation has improved with Russia.

The survey also asked respondents to evaluate the importance of seven qualities for any country on a scale of 1 to 9. Protecting human rights got the highest average rating, with 71.6 percent of Turks giving it a 9; only 17.6 percent said the United States does that very well.

Having democracy with political freedoms got the lowest priority among Turks, with 57.3 percent of the respondents giving it a 9. Other top priorities were having good schools and universities (70.2 percent) and being a place where people of different races live together peacefully (68.2 percent).

The respondents were asked how well the United States performs on each of the seven categories. Having good schools was first, given a 9 by 43.5 percent of the respondents, followed by 32.1 percent for economic and business opportunities.

But only 20.1 percent gave the United States a 9 for different races living together peacefully, followed by 17.6 percent for protecting human rights and 15.1 percent for fighting international crime.