Turkish people concerned most for economy, pro-gov’t pollster finds

More than a third of Turkish people believe the most pressing issue in the country outside of the coronavirus pandemic is the economy, a recent poll by the pro-government Ankara Centre for Social Research (ANAR) found.

According to the study, conducted over the phone with 2,043 participants in 26 provinces between May 9 and 18, 77.6 percent of Turks believe the economy to be the most important problem.

Seventy point two percent of participants had already believed the economy to be the most important problem in the country in the February version of the study, conducted before the pandemic took hold.

Fifty percent of participants told ANAR that they lost some of their income, while 36.2 said their debt increased. Some 14.9 percent of participants lost their jobs during the pandemic, while only 12 percent of Turks have “not been affected by the pandemic at all.”

Concerns that often rank high in the country, like security/terrorism, problems with the government and justice, were seen as the most important by 3.7, 2.7 and 2.1 percent of participants respectively.

Only 0.3 percent of participants believed the refugee issue to be the most pressing, while 1.3 percent said there were no problems in the country at all.

Pandemic measures that the most people believed to be unsuccessful were the attempt to distribute masks from pharmacies (35.5 percent), sending medical supplies to other countries (30.8 percent), and the nationwide solidarity campaign promoted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (29.5 percent), and the remote education system using videoconferencing and televised lectures (26.2 percent).

More than 85 percent of participants believed the restrictions on public events, the intercity travel ban, restrictions on en masse religious activities, age-specific curfews, and general weekend lockdowns to be successful measures against the pandemic.

When asked, “When do you think everything will go back to normal after the Coronavirus Pandemic?” 37.5 percent of participants said it would take more than one year. Only 15.9 percent believed normalisation would happen within three months.