News / Europe

    Turks See Russia as Greatest Threat, Poll FInds

    FILE - Turkish protesters shout anti-Russia slogans as they hold a poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin that reads in Turkish and Russian "Assassin Putin!" during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 27, 2015.
    FILE - Turkish protesters shout anti-Russia slogans as they hold a poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin that reads in Turkish and Russian "Assassin Putin!" during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 27, 2015.
    Dorian Jones

    With Russian-Turkish tensions mounting, a recent poll finds that the Turkish people see Russia as their greatest threat.

    The annual survey on Turkish attitudes carried out by Istanbul's Kadir Has University shows Russia displacing Israel in the No. 1 spot.

    The findings are not surprising, says international relations expert Soli Ozel of Kadir Has, as Turkey's nationalist and pro-government media continue to target Moscow with accusations of conspiracies against Turkey - the expulsion of a Turkish diplomat from Bulgaria just last month was blamed on Moscow.

    "This is a public that gets 85 percent of its news from TVs,” Ozel said. “Given the fact that most TVs repeat the allegations, assertions and thoughts of the government, so long as the government does present the Russians as certainly very inimical to Turkey, and given the fact they did down a plane.  Russia would probably take pride of place in terms of Turkey threats."

    Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet operating from a Syrian airbase in November plunged the two countries into crisis. Until then, there had been two decades of deepening relations in trade and tourism, as well as growing numbers of inter-marriages.

    'Good old nasty feeling'

    But the historical rivalries always remained, says historian Ayhan Aktar of Istanbul's Bilgi University.

    "There is a good old nasty feeling between those two countries,” Aktar said. “And there have been several military encounters, which Turkey lost all of them. … Then we have the cold war. For ordinary Turks, there was no difference between Russia Empire and the Soviets, it was always Russia. Therefore, there is a basis for this enmity. "

    Aktar argues that historical suspicions by Turkey are not confined to Russia. The current crisis with Moscow, he says, is part of a wider pattern of national insecurity, both within society and the state.

    "In any ceremonies, commemorations in schools, you are always hearing that Turkey is surrounded with enemies,” he said. “It could be Greeks, Armenians, Russians, Iranians, whatever you can imagine."

    Moscow's recent deployment of fighters and bombers in Armenia, Turkey's neighbor, can only add to Turkey's unease — something well-known to Moscow, observers say. And considering Turkey’s strained or non-existent diplomatic relations with all its southern neighbors, historical insecurities are likely to intensify.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: william from: usa
    March 16, 2016 12:50 AM
    The really big news is that Russia cut out on Syria and when they cut out on Syria, they cut out on Iran...Turkey shouldn't be afraid...Remember when Russia and Germany were allies in 1939...When Russia cut out on Germany, Italy, and Japan...So, when Turkey sees that Russia is cutting out on its allies, you know it is out of the deep weakness of Russia's character.... ...

    by: Viktor from: Ukraine
    March 04, 2016 1:25 PM
    We stand in solidarity with you. We love and respect Turkey. About USA it is a progressive new technologies, it is evolution. About Russia it is KGB, prison, deathman Kadyrov-Putin, drunken peasants and slum.

    by: Jake from Albuquerque
    March 01, 2016 8:21 PM
    There are many valid reasons why educated people distrust and dislike Putin.
    The fact that he's a former KGB thug who used his underworld connections to get and stay in office.
    The fact that he dreams of resurrecting the Soviet empire, and bringing all of it's heavy handed brute force back.
    And, despite assassinating rivals and using government money to buy himself a $40 million yacht, his propaganda machine keeps the Russian peasantry in the dark.

    No wonder he and Donald Trump get along so well!
    In Response

    by: baba Voenga from: underground
    March 02, 2016 3:57 AM
    You have a more appropriate, short-distance, more immediate and more understandable, for you object to distrust and dislike. Pay attention to your state, country, city, former and in force CIA thugs, functionaries.
    Why you so care and so excited about Russia, Putin, Putins dreams & yachts, "propaganda machine" & "the Russian peasantry in the dark"?
    You have nothing to do & to think about something else (pleasant)?
    Putin prevents you to set up your order at the other side of the globe?

    by: Rich Tee
    March 01, 2016 5:34 PM
    Turkey is just upset with Russia. Turkey has spent millions arming and supporting ISIS and other terrorists groups in Syria. Those darn Russians are destroying all of Turkey's investments......
    In Response

    by: nino from: na
    March 01, 2016 11:46 PM
    Rich Tee
    yada yada kremlin propaganda talking lines.
    Whatever happened to "Turkey is our strategic partner"? Didn't hear anything from Russia about "Turkey supporting ISIS" until few months ago, just like there were no howling from Russia about "Ukraine NAZI" until Russia invaded Ukraine.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora