Turkey by numbers (II)

Turkey by numbers (II)

The story in our newspaper recently stated that a recent survey about the lifestyle and attitudes of Turkish people had revealed "intriguing results." The poll was conducted by the Ipsos KMG Research and Consultancy Company based on interviews with almost 16,000 people across Turkey, titled “Guide to Understanding Turkey.”

Here are some of the “intriguing” results:

-       My favorite hobby is watching TV: 84 percent
-       I most often watch soap operas on TV: 62 percent
-       I most often watch soap operas on TV: 77 percent (among women)
-       I watch whatever I come across on TV: 40 percent
-       I never exercise, not even walking: 46 percent
-       I never go out for dinner with my family: 38 percent
-       I never go on holiday abroad: 94 percent
-       I never go on holiday in Turkey: 45 percent
-       I perform all of my religious duties: 71 percent
-       It is important that my wife wears a headscarf: 46 percent
-       Husband’s permission is a must for women to work: 69 percent (among men) and 57 percent (among women)
-       Women can be slapped if necessary: 20 percent (among men) and 18 percent (among women)
-       I never read a newspaper: 28 percent
-       I never read a book: 45 percent
-       Media can be censored: 60 percent
-       I never surf the Internet: 68 percent
-       I never see an opera or ballet: 96 percent
-       I never go to the theater: 80 percent
-       I never go to a concert: 73 percent
-       I never go to the cinema: 56 percent
-       I never put on makeup: 38 percent (among women)
-     I wear a headscarf when I go out: 60 percent (here, the pollsters [or our newspaper] do not specify if “60 percent” is women only or all Turks, although “38 percent” who never put on makeup are singled out as “women.”)
-       I most often watch game shows on TV: 41 percent
-       Public servants should be allowed to wear headscarves: 57 percent
-       Some Internet sites can be closed down: 61 percent
-       I do not have my photo taken except for headshots: 56 percent

No doubt, these are statistically significant results, if not “intriguing” as our editors think or altogether “shocking” for anyone who may have read a couple of articles on Turkey at the “Introduction to Turkish Affairs” level. As always about public opinion polls, there is a risk of deviation from the facts, since all poll findings are based on declarations presumed to be true.

For example, take the finding that says 71 percent of Turks perform all religious duties. Since, by official statistics, 99 percent of Turkey is Muslim, 70.3 percent of all Turks should be performing all of their religious duties. This, then, must mean that – based on the fact that Turkey’s population is roughly 76 million - 53.4 million Turks are attending the mosque for prayers. This should mean that each one of Turkey’s 80,000 or so mosques should be filled up by an average of 667.5 people for every Friday prayer.

It is relieving to be living in a country where 71 percent of the people do not cheat, kill, rape, steal, treat one another unfairly and follow the strictest religious commandments on morals.

From a sociopolitical angle, the pollsters’s finding that 71 percent of Turks perform all religious duties can be superimposed on two other figures: These are not the findings of other surveys, but are merely statistical facts:

-       I vote for  aparty, some of whose leading ministers have faced the most embarrassing corruption allegations in Turkish political history: 43.3 percent
-       I vote for a leader who has done his best to cover up the most embarrassing corruption scandal in Turkish political history: 51.5 percent.

Welcome to Turkey!