A recent survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), an international think tank that conducts cutting-edge independent research on European foreign and security policy, has shown that 26 percent of Europeans see Turkey as an adversary –- a country they are in conflict with.
The public opinion poll titled “Crisis of confidence: How Europeans see their place in the world” was conducted in 12 EU countries – Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Bulgaria – online and through telephone interviews with 17,231 participants in April 2021.
The survey revealed that Turkey is the only country that more Europeans see as an “adversary” than a “necessary partner,” since only 25 percent see the country as one they “must strategically cooperate with.”
While 15 percent see Turkey as a “rival,” a country with which they need to compete, only 4 percent of Europeans think of Turkey as an “ally” with shared values and interests, according to the survey.
“Given that Turkey is a NATO member – unlike China, Russia, India, and Japan, all of which Europeans consider less threatening – this finding is quite worrying,” ECFR said.
The number of Europeans who consider Turkey an adversary climbs as high as 40 percent in Sweden, 41 percent in Germany, 42 percent in Denmark and 45 percent in the Netherlands, from which countries 1,015, 3,080, 1,012 and 1,008 people participated in the opinion poll, respectively.
When asked if the EU should criticize violations of human rights and the rule of law in China and Turkey or should refrain from doing so to prioritize trade and security in these relationships, a plurality in 10 countries – except Hungary and Bulgaria – responded that the EU should criticize violations when they occur, ECFR stated.