More than one-third of Turks say they expect the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to remain neutral in the Israel-Hamas conflict, which started after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7, a public survey has revealed.
Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people, both civilians and soldiers, according to Israeli authorities. It was the deadliest attack by militants in Israel’s 75-year history. Following the attack, Israel began pounding Gaza, claiming more than 6,500 lives so far, according to local health officials.
As part of the monthly “Turkey’s Pulse” public survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPoll on 1,691 people in 28 provinces Oct. 10-16, the participants were asked about their expectations from the ruling AKP regarding the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The results of the survey, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday by Professor Özer Sencar, the owner of MetroPoll, revealed that 34.5 percent of participants think the AKP government should “remain neutral” in the conflict.
Halkın büyük çoğunluğu İsrail-Hamas savaşında Hükümet’in tarafsız kalmasını istiyor. pic.twitter.com/pFZON9aYuc
— Ozer Sencar (@ozersencar1) October 24, 2023
According to the poll, 26.4 percent of participants think the government should “mediate” between the two parties, followed by those who think the AKP should “support the Palestinian cause but maintain a distance from Hamas” (18.1 percent), “stand by Hamas” (11.3 percent) and “support Israel” (3 percent), while 6.7 percent said they have no idea/answer.
People who think the AKP should remain neutral in the conflict increased to 63.6 percent, 49.3 percent and 37.6 percent among voters of the far-right and anti-refugee Victory Party (ZP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party, respectively, while decreasing to 27.1 percent and 21 percent among supporters of the ruling AKP and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The Hamas-Israeli conflict came at a time when Turkey was just normalizing its relations with Israel after years-long tension, with both sides announcing the full restoration of relations and the return of ambassadors to both countries last year.
Turkey, which supports the Palestinian cause, does not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization, and Hamas leaders and militants are known to enjoy a safe haven in Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a statement on Wednesday that Hamas militants are not terrorists but “liberators” fighting for their land and people.
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