22:21 GMT16 February 2020
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    Turkish people perceive terrorism as the foremost problem facing the country, while ranking the movement of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Ankara refers to as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), and unemployment as the next two issues of major concern, the latest research revealed on Wednesday.

    The Survey on Social and Political Trends was carried out by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University among 1,000 respondents across the country between December 11 and January 7.

    "Terrorism, seen as the most important problem in 2016 with 35 percent, has kept its top position in the country’s agenda in 2017, though it has gone down to 29 percent. FETO, identified as a problem only by 1.3 percent in 2015, went up significantly in 2016 as a result of the 15 July coup attempt and became the country’s second most serious problem with 25.2 percent. In 2017, with an 18.1 percent rate, FETO continues to be viewed as the second most serious problem in Turkey," the annual research said, as quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News newspaper.

    According to the survey, the ranking varies depending on the regions of residence, with people from northern and central Turkey regarding terrorism as the top problem, and residents of the Aegean, Mediterranean and eastern regions identifying unemployment as the major concern.

    In general, the survey showed that Turks had become more preoccupied with social and economic problems in 2017, with the number of people calling unemployment and the high cost of living the most critical problems, having risen from 10.5 to 17 percent and from 9.8 to 13.1 percent respectively compared to 2016.

    Looking into foreign policy priorities, the survey noted that a downward trend in the level of support for Turkey’s EU membership after years of tumbling had been reversed, with 57.8 percent of respondents supporting the EU accession.

    Almost 60 percent of Turks have supported continued NATO membership, with opinions almost equally dividing on whether Turkey could ensure its security without being a NATO member (39.8) or not (37.7 percent), the poll showed.

    The research also revealed that the United States had overtaken Israel as a country thought to pose the biggest threat to Turkey, while Azerbaijan, followed by Northern Cyprus and Russia, was perceived as the most important ally.


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    security, unemployment, economy, social programs, Gulen Movement, terrorism, survey, poll, Turkey
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