A new Pew Research Poll found that more Turks dislike Israel than dislike either Hezbollah or Hamas. In fact, Israel is the most disliked country in Turkey, according to the poll, with 86 percent having an unfavorable opinion of the Jewish state.
Of course, Israel is portrayed by the leadership in Turkey as a detestable nation, so it is no wonder that the people share their leader’s view.
As Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has grown first slowly and now ever more quickly away from the policies of the secular heavyweight Ataturk, his belligerence and growing Islamic fervor has frequently found expression in his criticisms of Israel.
The most public ugliness between Israel and Turkey was over the Mavi Marmara disaster in May 2010. Erdoğan blamed Israel completely, loudly and with great fervor, despite the anti-Israel, terrorist-supporting Turkish thugs who attacked the Israelis (who were not permitted to use their live side weapons) boarding their ship when it attempted to break Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza. See the video clip at the end of this article. Ten Turks died in the ensuing meleé and Erdoğan, with his buddy Mr. Obama, demanded Israel both apologize and provide compensation.
Surely the Turks look favorably upon the United States. After all, U.S. President Obama has fawned over the Turkey’s leader Erdoğan, referring to his Turkish counterpart as his closest friend in the Middle East.
No, nearly two-thirds of all Turks have an unfavorable opinion of the U.S., and that less than loving picture has remained fairly constant for more than a decade.
But neither Israelis nor Americans should feel bad. The Turks don’t much like anyone. Other than Turkey. Almost four-fiths of Turks have a positive opinion about their own country.
How do other countries stack up in the opinion of Turks? Not too well. In addition to Israel, the U.S. and Iran being viewed unfavorably by more than three-quarters of all Turks, Russia, Brazil and China are disliked by well more than half of the population.
In fact, the only state which almost – almost – half of the Turkish population does not detest is Saudi Arabia, and still, only 26 percent have what they consider to be a favorable opinion of the Saudis.
Even NATO, of which Turkey has been a member for 60 years, does not rank high with the Turks. Only 19% of the Turkish population has a favorable opinion about NATO, and 70 percent have an unfavorable one.
But perhaps of greater interest is that well more than half of the population has an unfavorable (66 percent) opinion of the European Union, and only a quarter think favorably about the EU. Turkey has been trying desperately for years to join the EU. No doubt its star has fallen with EU members as well.
Another interesting finding is that although Turkey is currently on the hot seat with ISIS gaining strength on its borders, only half of Turkey’s population expressed concern about the growth of Islamic extremism in its country.
What does Israel really detest? Not so much ISIS. It is the tiny Jewish State which is rock bottom as far as the Turks are concerned. Only two percent of the population of Turkey has a favorable opinion of Israel.