Poll: Turkish People Dislike Israel Slightly More Than ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, New York, Sept. 24, 2014.Credit: AP

Turkish citizens have the least favorable opinion of Israel out of nine countries and groups, with 86 percent holding an unfavorable view of it, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.

Only 2 percent of Turks view Israel favorably, according to the poll. Following Israel is Iran, which 75 percent of Turks say they view unfavorably. The U.S. and Russia tied for the third least favorable country among 73 percent of Turkish citizens.

The country that Turks viewed most favorably (of the choices offered) was Saudi Arabia: Twenty-six percent of Turks said they viewed the fellow predominantly Sunni Muslim country favorably, while 53 percent said they viewed it unfavorably.

Pew has been polling the Turkish people since 2002. Anti-American sentiment spiked to 83 percent in 2003, following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Pew researcher Jacob Poushter noted.

The good news for Israel is that 85 percent of Turks also have a negative opinion of extremist groups such as the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and Hezbollah, while 80 percent have a negative view of Hamas.

A majority of Turkish Muslims – 58 percent – also said that suicide bombing and other violence against civilian targets are never justified.

Despite their negative views of most world powers, a little more than half of the Turkish public, or 53 percent, still wants to join the European Union.

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