New study shows Turks have strikingly low rates of citizenship engagement
ISTANBULTurks have a low engagement rate in citizenship activities other than casting their vote in elections, according a new joint academic survey.
According to the study conducted by Professor Ali Çarkoğlu from Koç University and Professor Ersin Kalaycıoğlu from Sabancı University, 70 percent of Turks see “working in social and political institutions” as being an “important part of being a good citizen.” This is far higher than the rate of respondents who cite membership of a political party, participating in a political demonstration, or signing a petition as being important.
The study was based on the findings of a poll carried out within the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) between February and April 2015.
The rates of Turks who said they have partaken in other paths of political participation were very low. Only 14 percent said they have signed a joint petition, 10 percent said they have participated in a political demonstration, 11 percent said they have participated in a political campaign rally, and only 6 percent said they have donated or collected money for a social or political activity. All these numbers were far lower than any other country.
Only 12 percent of Turkish citizens said they are a member of a political party and 6 percent said they are a member of a trade union - strikingly low levels compared to developed democracies.
Turkey ranked ahead of all other countries on the importance of casting a vote in terms of good citizenship, with 96 percent saying it is important. Turkey also topped the list for people saying paying taxes are important, with 96 percent saying it was an important citizenship duty.
Turkey ranked in the top three countries for respondents saying “working in social and political institutions” is an important part of being a good citizen, with 70 percent saying it is important. Some 93 percent of Turkish respondents said giving a priority to ethical values in shopping is an important part of good citizenship, but only 11 percent said they had ever bought or boycotted an item for political, ethical or environmental reasons.