Majority of Turks hold US, NATO responsible for Russian invasion of Ukraine: survey

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More than 48 percent of Turks hold the United States and NATO, of which Turkey has been a member since 1952, responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while only 34 percent think Russia is responsible for the invasion, according to the results of a recent survey.

When the participants in the survey, conducted by the Ankara-based Metropoll company, were asked, “Who do you hold responsible for the invasion of Ukraine?” 48.3 percent said they hold the US and NATO responsible, while 33.7 percent said it was Russia and 7.5 percent said it was Ukraine that was responsible for the Russian invasion, which began on Feb. 24, sparking international condemnation and sanctions against Russia.

The results of the “Turkey’s Pulse” survey were tweeted by Professor Özer Sencar, the owner and president of the Metropoll, on Wednesday.

Voters for the nationalist parties such as the Nationalist Movement Party and the İYİ (Good) Party made up most of the group of people holding the US and NATO responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with 68.2 percent of MHP and 67 percent of İYİ Party voters supporting the view.

Professor İhsan Dağı, an expert on international relations, found the results of the survey interesting given the fact that the majority of voters of the two nationalist parties hold the United States and NATO rather than Russia responsible for the invasion.

“Are the nationalist movements reconciling with Russia, or are they becoming neo-nationalist? Or?” tweeted Dağı.

Most supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 48.2 percent, also held the US and NATO responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while 41.7 percent of the party’s supporters said it was Russia that should be held responsible.

Among the supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 48.8 percent held the US and NATO responsible for the invasion, while 30.5 percent said it was Russia and 9.2 percent held Ukraine responsible.

Supporters of small parties such as the DEVA Party and the Felicity Party (SP) thought Russia was responsible for the invasion of Ukraine.

When it comes to supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the percentages of those holding the United States and NATO and those holding Russia responsible for the invasion were similar, standing at 38.1 percent and 38.6 percent, respectively. However, 10.2 percent of HDP voters said Ukraine was responsible for the invasion of itself.

Economist Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management found the results of the survey shameful for Turks, given the fact that Turkey is also a member of NATO.

Emrah Gülsunar, an academic and political scientist, said the results of the Metropoll survey are important for demonstrating the strength of anti-Western sentiment in Turkey.

“The more the nationalism increases, the stronger anti-Western sentiment becomes,” he said.

Turkey, which has close ties with both Ukraine and Russia, has tried to position itself as a mediator in the ongoing conflict and did not join international sanctions against Russia.

It hosted the first high-level meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers since the war began in the southern resort city of Antalya in early March and another round of talks in İstanbul on Tuesday.

Earlier negotiations, both by video and in person, have failed to make progress on ending the war that has killed thousands and driven more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes, including almost 4 million from the country.

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