(JNS.org) Russia has overtaken Israel as the greatest perceived threat among Turkish citizens, according to findings from the Global think tank's newly released "Turkey Social Trends" survey.
Istanbul-based Kadir Has University conducted the survey in 26 Turkish cities through face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adult participants from Dec. 9-17, 2015.
“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 [the top of] this list. The percentages of those who consider the Unites States, Syria, and Israel to pose a threat to Turkey have fallen in 2015,” Kadir Has University said in a statement, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.
This shift in public opinion may have been influenced by Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkey-Syria border last November, an incident in which a Russian pilot was killed. Turkey said the plane violated its airspace, while Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a "stab in the back” and imposed retaliatory economic sanctions on Turkey.
Though Turkey and Israel have had a tense relationship since the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a history of hostility toward the Jewish state, the two countries have recently been nearing a normalization of diplomatic relations.