Turkey’s Biggest Threat? Ask Uncle Sam

Turkey’s neighborhood is often considered a bit rough round the
edges: conflict-riven Iraq to the south, nuclear-aspirant Iran next
door, the restless Caucasian states and the Russian bear to the East.
Even to the west, in New Europe, the bordering Balkan states have been
plagued by periodic conflict.

Turkish military officers here used to — and often still do — say as
much in presentations about regional threats to schoolchildren in
‘national security’ lessons that form part of the state curriculum.

But ask Turks to name their biggest external threat and the source is
a long way — and seven time zones — from the country’s borders: the
United States.

According to a wide-ranging survey carried out by the Ankara-based
MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center in December, some 43% of
Turks said they perceive the U.S. as the country’s biggest threat,
followed by Israel, with 24%. Just 3% of those surveyed considered Iran a
major threat.

This trend isn’t new. Though the U.S. is Turkey’s strategic ally, it
has become steadily more unpopular here, receiving the lowest
favorability score from Turks in every Global Attitudes survey conducted
between 2006 and 2009 by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

Still the survey from MetroPOLL — which quizzed 1,504 people in 31
provinces in December — appears to mark a sha… >>>

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