“Conspiracies, Victimhood Cloud Turks’ Views of Hebdo Killings”
Al-Monitor, February 4, 2015
“Titled ‘Religion, Violence and Freedom,’ the survey [by Metropoll, an Ankara-based polling company] first focuses on Turkish perceptions of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Only 16% of respondents defined the incident solely as ‘an attack on freedom of speech,’ arguably the dominant view in the West. A much larger portion, 56%, emphasized that it was wrong for Charlie Hebdo to insult the Prophet Muhammad, but that it was also wrong to murder its journalists. The most worrying response was agreed to by some 20% of participants, who believe the satirists of the prophet ‘got the response that they deserved.’ Among voters of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), this percentage rose to 26%. … A second question about the attack on Charlie Hebdo was ‘Who really did it?’ Only 31% of participants thought ‘radical Islamists’ were responsible. Among AKP voters, the number was even lower, at 18%. The most popular answer was ‘foreign intelligence services,’ which typically implies the CIA, Mossad and the like. Of all participants, 44% opted for this conspiratory theory, which was even more popular among AKP voters, at 56%. This finding confirms the overwhelming acceptance of conspiracy theories in Turkey. … Another important question concerned whether ‘violence in the name of Islam’ was acceptable ‘in certain situations’: 73% of participants said no, and 20% said yes. Among AKP voters, the latter figure rose to 33%. … Among all survey participants, 71% agreed with the maxim ‘the state should be secular.’ Those who disagreed represented 19%. Among AKP voters, however, only 52% of those surveyed agreed that the state should be secular, while 33% disagreed. Metropoll commentators also noted a slight shift in these views compared to two years ago, when it conducted a survey that included some similar questions. In February 2013, those who supported the secular state stood at 85% of all Turks, compared to 71% today.”
Quickie analysis: It is rather remarkable to find less support for a secular state today with ISIS’s extreme version of sharia right across Turkey’s border. Presumably some Turks choose not to believe the news reports out of Syria and Iraq either.