Survey reveals overwhelming support for settlement process

May 06, 2013, Monday/ 16:36:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

An overwhelming majority of the respondents of a public survey have said everyone should take responsibility in the settlement process that aims to resolve the country's long-standing Kurdish and terrorism problems and that this process is for the happiness of all.

The survey was conducted by the Konda polling company at the request of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which initiated the settlement process and launched talks with the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) last year.

The survey was carried out through face-to-face interviews with 2,650 people across 30 provinces.

A total of 90.8 percent of the survey's respondents said everyone should take responsibility in the settlement process, while 81.3 percent said the process is for the happiness of all.

Results of the survey were discussed at the AK Party's Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting last week and at the party's meeting at the Kızılcahamam camp over the weekend.

In the past few months, imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who, despite his 14 years in prison, still wields enormous clout over PKK terrorists as well as millions of nationalist Kurds in Turkey, called on PKK terrorists to lay down their weapons and leave Turkey.

In line with Öcalan's call, the PKK leadership recently announced that it would begin withdrawing its terrorists from Turkey in early May.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US, has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey's Southeast since 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.

Over the past several years, Turkey has taken significant steps to expand the cultural and political rights of Kurds, who have suffered from the Turkish state's harsh policies of discrimination against them over the past decades.

Konda's survey also asked people about their level of satisfaction with the course of developments in the country. A total of 50.3 percent said living circumstances in Turkey have significantly improved over the past five years, while 44.6 percent said their living circumstances have improved over the same time period.

A total of 41.6 percent said they believe living circumstances in Turkey will be better in the next five years, while 29.1 percent disagreed

The percentage of respondents who said they are happy with their economic situation was 54.8 percent, while 28.1 said they are not pleased with it.

With regards to whether Turkey is to experience a financial crisis anytime soon, 69.9 percent said they think such a crisis is not on the horizon.In the meantime, the general manager of the ANAR research company, İbrahim Uslu, told the Akşam daily on Monday that public support for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has reached 14 percent for the first time since the local elections in 2009.

Uslu said votes lost by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) go to the MHP.

Turkey will hold local elections in 2014.

According to Uslu, the local elections in 2014 will be the most problem-free elections for the AK Party, and the party will continue to enjoy more than 50 percent public support.

He said support for the CHP has declined to 22-23 percent from more than 25 percent, while the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) enjoys 7 percent public support.

Relating these figures to the ongoing settlement process, he said while support for the AK Party and BDP is not influenced by the process, there has been an increase in support for the MHP and a decline for the CHP.

The main opposition CHP supported the process at the outset, but it has withdrawn its support, accusing the government of a lack of transparency. The MHP has been against the process from the very beginning and describes it as an act of betrayal.

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