Over 70 pct of Turks want to live in democratic, secular country - survey

More than 70 percent of Turkey’s population say they wish to live in a democratic and secular country, according to an opinion survey by leading Turkish polling company MetroPOLL.

A total of 72.9 percent of respondents said they wanted to live in a “secular-democratic’’ country, while 18.5 percent expressed desire for a “conservative-authoritarian” nation when asked “What kind of a country would you like to live in? “according to MetroPOLL’s “Turkey Pulse” May 2022 survey shared by company head Özer Sencar on Twitter.

Turkey has come under criticism for increased democratic backsliding over the last decade, with international media increasingly defining the country as authoritarian, particularly following the failed coup attempt in 2016. 

In 2018, the country ushered in the presidential system, which gave President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vastly enhanced executive powers following a nationwide referendum marred by opposition allegations of vote-rigging.

The MetroPOLL survey found that over 57 percent of supporters of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and over 74 percent of supporters of  its ally, the far- Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also wish to a live in a democratic and secular Turkey.

This figure rose to over 90 percent among supports of the main opposition secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) the survey found, followed by 78 percent among supporters of the centre-right nationalist Good Party (İP).

AKP supporters formed the highest percentage of voters who said their preference was to live under a conservative and authoritarian government at 31.3 percent, while this figure was the lowest among CHP supporters with 5.7 percent.

Some 8 percent of those surveyed did not provide an answer to the question, MetroPOLL said.

Freedom House designated Turkey as “not free” in its “Freedom in the world 2021” report, which ranks countries on a variety of metrics including political pluralism and rule of law.  

The country demonstrated the greatest decline in democracy and the rule of law in the last decade among 137 countries included in the German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) for 2022.

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