A survey exploring the extent of political polarization in Turkey conducted by the İstanbul Bilgi University Center for Migration Research has shown that half the Turkish public thinks the supporters of opposing parties should be subject to wiretapping if required for security reasons.
The survey, titled “Dimensions of Polarization in Turkey 2020” was conducted in November and December in face-to-face interviews across 29 cities on some 4,000 people representing Turkey’s adult population.
Among the respondents, 34 percent felt close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 11 percent to its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), 22 percent to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 9 percent to its ally the İYİ (Good) Party and 9 percent to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), with figures mirroring recent opinion polls and the results of the last election.
When asked to which party’s supporters they feel most distant, 40 percent of participants pointed to the HDP, while 60 percent of CHP supporters said it was the ruling AKP and 46 percent of HDP supporters replied that it was MHP.
The pro-Kurdish HDP is accused by the AKP and MHP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an allegation strongly denied by party officials.
According to the survey, 75 percent of respondents didn’t want their child to marry a supporter of the political party to which they feel the most distant, while 72 percent didn’t want to do business with them, 67 percent didn’t want their children to play with their children and 61 percent didn’t want to be neighbors with them.
The survey results also showed that 41 percent of respondents objected to the supporters of the political party to which they felt the most distant organizing a rally in their city, 37 percent objected to them making a press release, 37 percent objected to their ability to organize a meeting in their city, 35 percent objected to their ability to get an education in accordance with their needs and 34 percent objected to their ability to become candidates for political positions.
Over half of the respondents think that differences of opinion and behavior have increased in Turkey. While 70 percent of CHP supporters, 67 percent of HDP supporters and 65 percent of İYİ supporters think differences of opinion and behavior in the country have recently escalated, 60 percent of AKP supporters and 61 percent of MHP supporters said Turkish citizens had the same number of differences as in the past.
When asked their opinion on the idea that things in the country are going well, 57 percent of ruling party supporters and 37 of its ally’s supporters agreed, while only 10 percent of main opposition party supporters and 5 percent of HDP supporters said they were of that opinion.
The survey also indicated that supporters of the AKP and MHP trust the health ministry’s COVID-19 statistics, while opposition CHP, İYİ and HDP supporters think coronavirus-related data released by the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are more accurate.
On the other hand, supporters of Turkey’s various political parties agree on the existence of several crucial problems in the country, which include economic crises, the pandemic, earthquakes and violence against women.
While 80 percent of HDP, CHP and İYİ supporters argue that it’s the government’s responsibility to end domestic violence against women, supporters of the ruling AKP and its ally the MHP think that the family itself has more responsibility than any other institution, with percentages of 57 and 55, respectively.
As many as 92 percent of HDP supporters also argue that the government is responsible for employing every citizen who wants to work, with this decreasing to 79 percent among CHP supporters and to 75, 65 and 56 percent among supporters of the İYİ, MHP and AKP, respectively.