President’s Office, military, police trusted, public confidence slipping

President’s Office, military, police trusted, public confidence slipping

A handout picture relased on 30 July 2011 by the Turkish Presidental Press Office shows Turkey's President Abdullah Gül (R) meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) and General Necdet Özel, then Commander of Gendarmerie Paramilitary Force, at the presidential palace of Çankaya in Ankara, Turkey on 29 july 2011. (Photo: EPA/Presidential Press Office of Turkey)

January 15, 2013, Tuesday/ 16:33:00/ BETÜL AKKAYA DEMİRBAŞ

A recent opinion poll has shown that the Office of the President, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the police force, in that order, are the most trusted of state institutions by the people but also indicated that public confidence in all of those institutions is starting to slip.

The Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center conducted a survey on people's confidence in state institutions and compared people's existing confidence in those institutions with the previous year. According to the poll, the people's confidence in the President's Office is measured at 7.6 points out of a full 10 points, and the figure is 7.5 points for the TSK and 7.3 for the police force. The institutions are followed by the Prime Ministry with 6.8 points, Parliament and the Constitutional Court with 6.5 points each, the government and the judiciary, both with 6.3 points, the Higher Education Board (YÖK) with 5.5 points and the media with 5.1 points.

The public confidence in all institutions is, however, in relative decline.

The figure for the President's Office was calculated at eight points in December 2011, while the figure for the TSK was 7.7 percent; the police force was 7.6 percent; the Prime Ministry was 7.4 percent; Parliament was 7.1 percent; and the media was 5.2 percent.

Among those least trusted are opposition parties, according to MetroPOLL's new survey, with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at 4.3 points and the Republican People's Party (CHP) at 4.2 points.

The survey was conducted from Sept. 26 to Dec. 1, 2012, by telephone on a random national sampling of 1,202 adults residing in cities, towns and villages. The margin of error for the overall poll is 2.8 percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence level.

Pollsters also questioned respondents about their level of confidence in ministers. According to the responses, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is most trusted by the people. He is followed by Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Ali Babacan, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Health Minister Recep Akdağ, Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin and Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Asked about the course of Turkish democracy, 33.8 percent of respondents said democracy grew stronger in 2012. More than 25.8 percent responded to the contrary and said democracy grew weaker last year. A full 28 percent said democracy did not strengthen or weaken in 2012, while 9.7 percent declined to comment.

One of the main questions directed at respondents was about their voting behavior. If parliamentary elections were held today, 40.3 percent of those polled said they would vote for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), a figure lower than the June 12, 2011 general elections, in which the ruling party won around 50 percent of the vote. This figure is likely to increase at the ballot box for the AK Party, through the split of the vote of those who are undecided, which the survey shows to be more than 11 percent.

The CHP would receive 18 percent. This figure shows that the main opposition party has been unable to maintain its rising popularity among voters since the last general elections in which it garnered 26 percent of the national vote. According to MetroPOLL, the MHP would receive 8.7 percent of votes cast, while the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) would garner 4.5 percent. More than 10 percent declined to comment, while 5.1 percent said they would protest at the ballot box.

The survey also found that Turks show declining support for the country's bid to join the 27-nation European Union. While 43 percent said they support Turkey joining the EU, 40.7 percent said they do not. More than 10 percent said they are undecided, and 5.9 percent declined to comment. The support was much higher in previous surveys. One of the surveys conducted in 2011 showed that more than 53 percent would vote “yes” if a referendum were to be held today about Turkey's aspirations to become a full member of the EU.

Regarding a question as to which of the existing political party leaders they trusted the most, 43 percent of respondents said they trusted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the most. Erdoğan was followed by CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with 11 percent and the MHP's Devlet Bahçeli with 5 percent.

When asked about their contentment level, 52.2 percent of participants said they were pleased or very pleased with their lives. More than 19 percent said they were neither pleased nor unhappy about their lives, while more than 27 percent said they were unhappy with their lives.

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