The Middle East and Turkish Public Opinion
Several surveys probing Turkish public opinion on foreign relations, threats, and sympathies have found a relatively large reservoir of good will toward the Arab countries and Iran, as well as fear, distrust, and perceived ill will from the United States, EU, and Israel in Turkey. What were the Turkish respondents thinking? One major factor in the sea change of public opinion in Turkey has been the success of the Islamist movement’s capacity to survive in dire circumstances from the 1920s to 1950, and then to regenerate itself into a major political force. The Turkish mindset began to shift toward heavily religious conservatism by the mid-1990s. A resocialization of the Turkish public has created a new mind-set that emphasizes religious identity in defining who the Turkish citizens are and promotes the observation of the world through the prism of religious conflict.