Ankara, July 26 (IANS) Turkish people perceive the US as the number one country that poses threat to Turkey, while regarding Azerbaijan as Turkey’s closest friend, according to local research.
About 66.5 per cent of Turkish people think that the US is the “biggest threat” among foreign countries, the research, conducted by Center for Turkey Studies in Kadir Has University on June, said.
Israel follows with 37. 4 per cent and EU member states come in the third row with 24 per cent, Xinhua news agency cited the survey results.
The center has conducted the “Research on Public Perception of the Turkish Foreign Policy” since 2014.
In 2016, the percentage of Turks viewing the US as a threat was 44.1 per cent, but the figure went up to 66.5 per cent in 2017.
Threat perception towards Russia has fallen to 18.5 per cent in 2017 from 34.9 per cent in 2016 after Ankara and Moscow restored ties which had been strained when the former shot down a Russian warplane in 2015 claiming airspace violation.
“When we asked ‘which country is the most threatening to Turkey?’ The US always takes the first place. But this year there is a very important leap and the U.S. has opened the gap among threatening countries,” according to Professor Mustafa Aydin, the rector of Kadir Has University.
He points at the Syrian crisis that Ankara and Washington fall apart in their policies, and he sees the US support to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as the key reason for anti-American sentiment in Turkish public opinion.
Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the YPG, to be the Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist organization listed by Turkey, the US, and the EU.
However, the US has supported the YPG as its ally on the ground in combating Islamic State(IS) group in Syria despite objections by its NATO ally.