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Turkish trust in EU on the rise, according to survey

Tuesday 5 August 2008, by Today’s Zaman

Turkish trust in EU on the rise, according to survey
Trust in the European Union has risen in Turkey by six points since last autumn, with 31 percent of Turkish respondents in the latest Eurobarometer survey indicating that they “tend to trust” the EU.

The Eurobarometer report, based on fieldwork done between March and May, said a minority of respondents in Germany (43 percent), Austria (38 percent), the UK (29 percent) and two candidate countries, Turkey (31 percent) and Croatia (37 percent), expressed confidence in the EU.
The survey shows the EU is generally trusted in its member states. The highest trust-levels were noted in Cyprus (71 percent), Estonia (66 percent) and Belgium (63 percent). According to the results of the survey, many people trust the EU more than their country’s own national institutions. Turkish trust for the European Commission increased to 23 percent from 17 percent last year, while trust for the European Parliament saw a five point increase to 25 percent.

Eurobarometer, a series of surveys regularly performed on behalf of the European Commission since 1973, also offers some indicators regarding domestic politics. Turkish respondents indicate a decreased trust in their government, with 47 percent expressing trust, down from 63 percent in 2007. Additionally, the Turkish respondents’ trust in the Turkish Parliament decreased to 47 percent from 64 percent last year.

Almost half of Turkish respondents (49 percent) see Turkey’s potential accession to the EU as a good thing, but this is low compared to the 71 percent of Turkish people who regarded EU membership positively three years ago. On the other hand, 58 percent of Turkish respondents said Turkey would benefit from being a member of the bloc, a five-point increase.

Turkish respondents also believe in “common European values”: “Among the candidate countries, respondents in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Croatia agree the most that there are no European values, only Western ones. In contrast, Turkish respondents are convinced of the existence of European values.”The survey also asked the Europeans to state their short-term expectations on aspects related to their lives in general and their households’ financial situation as well as the economic and employment situation in their country.

Unemployment is the highest concern in Portugal (49 percent), Hungary (41 percent), Greece (40 percent) and candidate countries Turkey (55 percent) and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (61 percent).

For the most important issues facing Turkey, Turkish respondents selected rising prices and inflation. This was also a concern for respondents from Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Only 17 percent of the Turkish respondents said “things are going well,” compared to 72 percent of the Turkish respondents who think “things are not going well.” At the end of 2007, only 13 percent thought “their lives have been going worse” compared to 43 percent this year.

Although terrorism remains far from being a top priority issue in EU member states, this is not the case in Turkey. Despite a significant drop of 33 points, terrorism remains a significant concern in Turkey, with 44 percent listing it among the important issues facing Turkey.

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Source : Today’s Zaman 26 June 2008, Thursday


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