Rising number of Turks believe ‘peaceful divorce’ is good for Cyprus: Survey
The number of Turks who prefer to see the creation of two independent states in Cyprus has increased since last year, while the number of those who think Turkish Cyprus should be annexed to Turkey has dropped, a recent poll made public on June 6 showed.
Some 40 percent of the respondents of the poll, conducted each year by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, said the Cyprus problem should be solved based on the creation of two independent states. This marks a sharp increase compared to last year’s 27.7 percent.
Nearly 37 percent of the respondents of the poll opted for the creation of a bi-zonal bi-communal federal Cyprus state, as opposed to 41.5 percent last year, which might reflect a frustration towards the latest failed attempts to find a federal solution to the divided island.
Some 24.4 percent of the respondents said Turkish Cyprus should be annexed to Turkey, a significant drop from last year’s 36 percent.
And 42 percent said Turkey should recognize Turkish Cyprus when the problem is solved, a drop from 63 percent last year. The number of those who said Turkey should unconditionally recognize Turkish Cyprus remained at around 12 percent, reflecting a continuing pattern in the same poll, which has been conducted for the fifth time.
The findings of the poll about foreign policy perceptions revealed changing patterns regarding Turkish–Greek relations. Tensions in the Aegean Sea as well as problems regarding Turkey’s demands from Greece to extradite soldiers who fled to Greece after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, believed to have been done by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), seems to have left a mark on the public’s perception on Greece.
Greece came sixth in the list of countries seen as posing threats to Turkey, after the U.S., Israel, EU countries, Syria, and Armenia. Around 16.2 percent named Greece as a threat, while the figure was 10 percent in 2017, and 4.8 in 2016.
While 41 percent said the militarization of the Aegean islands was the most important problem between the two countries, only 4.6 percent saw the escape of FETÖ members to Greece as the most important issue. This came third in importance after border problems, with 26.6 percent, and the Cyprus problem, with 22.5 percent.
As was the case for the previous years, Azerbaijan topped the list of the “closest friends” with 59 percent in this year’s poll. The second country in the list was Russia with 4.1 percent, a 3 percent rise from last year, followed by Turkish Cyprus with 3.7 percent.
Some 22.5 percent said Turkey has “no friends,” showing a consistent pattern since previous years.