Most Turks don’t believe Osama bin Laden represented Muslim world

Turks don't think Osama bin Laden, the slain leader of al-Qaeda, represented the »»

Turks don't think Osama bin Laden, the slain leader of al-Qaeda, represented the Muslim world, a recent survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center has shown.

Laden was killed early May by US commandos in a raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and his body was dumped at sea, reportedly in the North Arabian Sea. The killing of bin Laden is believed to be in revenge for al-Qaeda's attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2011 that killed nearly 3,000 people. Following the attacks, al-Qaeda argued it was carried out on behalf of all Muslims worldwide, but a majority of the Turkish population is not of the opinion that the terrorist group and its slain leader represent Muslims.

The MetroPOLL survey found that 78 percent of all respondents do not believe that bin Laden represented the Muslim world. Only 11 percent said the contrary, and another 11 percent declined to comment. According to 71.1 percent of respondents, the killing of bin Laden will boost acts of terrorism in the entire world. Only 10.8 percent said his killing will decrease such acts. Only a few days after the US killed the terrorist leader, al-Qaeda warned of retaliation, saying the Americans' “happiness will turn to sadness.”

In response to a question on what they think about the US forces killing an unarmed bin Laden, 61.7 percent said they did not find it right. More than 24 percent, on the other hand, said they found it right. According to an overwhelming 78.3 percent, bin Laden should have been tried instead of being killed.

In a separate question, 49.5 percent of respondents said the Sept. 11 attacks were a “US conspiracy” and not carried out by bin Laden of his own free will. Slightly more than 25 percent, however, said the attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda upon an order coming from bin Laden.

Reactions to ÖSYM, centralized tests

The survey also sought the opinion of respondents on the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) and claims of cheating in this year’s national university admission exam.

According to 76.1 percent of respondents, the test was not held in a fair manner. Only 17.1 percent were of the contrary opinion. The ÖSYM is the organizer of the Transition to Higher Education Examination (YGS). This year’s test was held on March 27, but shortly thereafter the ÖSYM was accused of having inserted a code into the multiple choice answers of the exam. This indeed appeared to be the case in the question booklet distributed to the press after the exam. By rearranging the order of the numbers for questions that have numeric answer choices in ascending order, a test-taker who knew the alleged code would be able to get the correct answer without having to read the question. An investigation was launched into the claims by a civilian public prosecutor’s office.

More than 72 percent expressed a lack of trust in the ÖSYM’s administration of centralized university entrance exams. Only 22.5 percent said they trust the testing body. Asked whether the government is responsible for coded booklets claimed to have been used during the YGS, 56.2 percent said “yes.” More than 37 percent said “no.” According to 68.1 percent of respondents, ÖSYM President Ali Demir should resign.

The poll was conducted on May 6-7 by telephone on a random sampling of 1,458 people residing in cities, towns and villages. The margin of error for the overall poll was 2.6 percentage points, with a 95 confidence level.




Columnist: TODAY'S ZAMAN