Survey: Russia Replaces Israel as 'Greatest Threat' to Turks

Israel has headed the 'greatest threat' list since 2011. but it was replaced by Russia following Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane.

Turkey's President Erdogan addresses audience in Ankara, January 12, 2016.
Reuters

Russia has replaced Israel as the country that “poses the biggest threat to Turkey,” according to an opinion poll conducted by a Turkish University.

The Survey of Social-Political Trends in Turkey 2015 was conducted in December by Kadir Has University in Istanbul among 1,000 urban respondents across the country, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

“Although Israel had been at the top of the list of countries thought to ‘pose the biggest threat to Turkey’ since 2011, this year the Russian Federation replaced Israel on this list," the university said in a press statement announcing the results.

"The percentages of those who consider the United States, Syria and Israel to pose a threat to Turkey have fallen in 2015,” the statement continued.

Relations between Turkey and Russia have plummeted since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Turkish-Syrian border in November 2015, causing the deaths of two Russian servicemen.

Russian President Vladimir Putin labeled the incident a “stab in the back” and ordered wide-ranging economic sanctions on Turkey. Russia has intervened in the Syrian civil war on the side of President Bashar Assad, whom Turkey opposes.

The most serious problem confronting Turkey in 2015 was terrorism, according to the results of the survey.

“While 13.9 percent of participants indicated terror to be the most serious problem in the country in 2014, this rate went up to 39.3 percent in 2015,” the statement said.

However, most Turks regard the country's fight against terrorism, including its so-called counterterrorism activities targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK,) as being unsuccessful.

“Last year, 39.2 percent of respondents stated that military methods were the most effective way to solve this problem," the statement said. "This year, however, the same response has fallen to 31.6 percent.

"The ratio of respondents who regard political measures as being the best remedy for terror has remained unchanged since the previous year at 30.9 percent.”

Almost half of the respondents stated they found the Turkish government’s performance in the fight against the PKK to be unsuccessful, according to the statement.