Turkish consumers believe high costs top problem in energy sector: Opinion poll
Barçın Yinanç – ISTANBUL
Turkish people believe high costs are the most important problem in the energy sector, a recent survey has revealed, while also finding the current situation of the economy as this year’s number one problem.
In the second public opinion poll commissioned by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, “high costs of energy” topped the list of the most important problems of Turkey’s energy system, which ranked second in last year’s poll, coming after dependence on imported energy.
In last year’s public opinion, dependence on imported energy sources ranked first with 38.6 percent of the votes, but it dropped to 21.8 percent in this year’s poll. This year 41.8 percent of the respondents said high costs is the number one problem, a rise from last year’s 30.8 percent.
The increase in the view about high costs of energy was found as the most important issue mostly among supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a 12.8 percent rise since last year. The figure was 9 percent for National Movement Party (MHP) supporters.
A striking difference between the two polls also appeared in the rankings, as environmental problems, which was near the bottom of the list last year with 2.8 percent, ranked as the third most important problem with 16.4 percent this year.
“Cleary there has been an increase in awareness on environmental issues,” said Professor Volkan Ediger, the head of the university’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, which carried out the survey.
Last year the economy came third, after education and internal security, in the list of most important issues in the country. But this year Turks shifted their primary focus onto the economy, which topped the list with 22 percent, followed by education with 19 percent. Democracy, which had not made it to the top three last year, came third with 12 percent this year.
The rise in awareness on environmental issues was determined through other findings too. Just as was the case in last year’s poll, cheap energy appears to be one of the most important issues for the public this year too, with 42 percent of the respondents prioritizing the issue last year and 39 percent this year.
In last year’s poll 17 percent of the respondents said quality was most important, while clean energy and energy not harmful to the environment ranked third, with 14 percent. This year there was a 9 percent rise in the number of those who said they wanted clean energy and energy not harmful to the environment, ranking second among the most important issues the public viewed regarding their energy consumption.
Similar to last year, many people maintained their firm belief that climate change is real. There has been a 10 percent rise since last year in the number of people who said they believe in climate change, from 77.5 percent to 87.5 percent this year.
Rise in awareness on energy policies
This year’s most striking finding was people’s awareness on political parties’ energy policies. Last year 75 percent of the respondents said they do not know the energy policies of the parties they voted for. This year the figure dropped to 46.6 percent. Some 8.4 percent said last year they had moderate information on the energy policies of the parties they voted for. This year this figure increased to 34.9 percent.
While 51 percent of the respondents last year said they do not support the government’s energy policies, the number dropped to 34.6 percent this year. While last year, only 3.3 percent of the respondents chose not to give an answer this year 14.5 percent opted not to give a response.
In the last year’s poll 55 percent said they do not take into consideration energy policies while they cast their vote. This year the number dropped to 44 percent, while there has been a 12 percent rise in this year’s poll in the number of people who said they take energy policies into little consideration while they vote, from 24 to 36 percent.
Drop in support for Russia
Last year Russia had ranked second with 20 percent of the votes, after Azerbaijan with 42 percent, in the list of countries Turkey should purchase energy from. This year Azerbaijan again topped the list with 44 percent of the vote, while Russia dropped to 9 percent. The number of respondents who said they did not want Turkey to buy energy from anyone but wanted Turkey to produce its own energy increased from 3 to 16 percent.