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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-03-28

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.61/07 28.03.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ercakica on the 8 July process; Pertev to visit Brussels
  • [02] Statements by the British Foreign Secretary in Turkey; Turkish Foreign Ministry sources on Mrs Becketts visit
  • [03] Twenty MPs of Turkish origin from various European countries will participate in a meeting in occupied Keryneia
  • [04] Avci was presented as Foreign Minister in the US
  • [05] General Kivrikoglu met with 104 heads of occupied villages; Cakici says the culture of the Turkish Cypriots is different than the one existing in Turkey
  • [06] Businessman was abducted and set free after being forced to pay 1.3 million Turkish liras
  • [07] One more chapter to be opened for negotiation on Turkeys EU course
  • [08] Conference for the Treaty of Rome at the illegal New East University
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [09] Findings of a poll on Turkeys social structure, and attitudes towards ethnic groups

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ercakica on the 8 July process; Pertev to visit Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, has said that the command of the Security Forces is conducting negotiations with the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point.

    Speaking during his weekly briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica noted that the withdrawal of the military positions is not discussed at the negotiations. He said that UNFICYP is carrying out negotiations with the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus at the same time.

    Mr Ercakica alleged that the real aim of the Greek Cypriot side when manipulating the 8 July process is to prevent the efforts for the adoption of the Direct Trade Regulation.

    He argued: These developments showed how much the Greek Cypriot side is afraid of the lifting of the isolations and how it is influenced by even a very little step to be made in this direction. It has been seen that the steps to be made on this issue are very important for bringing the Greek Cypriot side to the table and putting it to the road of the solution.

    He accused President Papadopoulos of using the 8 July process in order to prevent the positive relations which the Turkish Cypriots are trying to establish with the EU. Mr Erakica noted that this influences the process negatively and increases the doubts in the Turkish side for the sincerity of the Greek Cypriots regarding this process.

    He said that they do not intent to permit the Greek Cypriots to use the 8 July process as a mean for delaying the solution of the Cyprus problem and exerting pressures both on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots by using its membership to the EU.

    Mr Ercakica reiterated that they are evaluating the situation and that they are and will be holding very serious meetings with Turkey and other countries which are interested in the Cyprus problem.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (28.03.07) reports that replying to a question, Mr Ercakica said that before the end of this week Mr Rasit Pertev, Turkish Cypriot leaders advisor, will visit Brussels. The paper covers Mr Ercakicas statements under the title Presidency: The Greek Cypriots made no proposal, there is no agreement.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Statements by the British Foreign Secretary in Turkey; Turkish Foreign Ministry sources on Mrs Becketts visit

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that the British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett has said that they will support a proposal which will be submitted by the United Nations for the solution of the Cyprus problem. In statements to CNN - Turk television in Ankara, Mrs Beckett was asked also about the possibility of the lifting of the so-called isolations on the Turkish Cypriots. She reminded that the EU decided to help more the Turkish Cypriots.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (28.03.07) refers to the statements made yesterday by the British Foreign Secretary during a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart and reports that when asked about the issue of the direct flights to the illegal Tymbou airport she replied that there are serious legal obstacles for the starting of direct flights from Britain to the occupied part of Cyprus. The paper covers the issue under the banner front-page title Are the direct flights becoming a dream?

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.03.07) reported the following from Ankara on the meeting between Mrs Beckett and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Gul:

    Turkish FM Abdullah Gul had a phone talk with his Iranian counterpart Manuchehr Motaki regarding the British marines and sailors who had been detained by Iran, diplomatic sources said.

    Turkey is closely monitoring the developments after Iran detained 15 British marines and sailors on charges of border violation.

    According to sources, Gul spoke to Motaki on the phone yesterday, and told him that Turkey was ready to do everything in its power to achieve a peaceful solution in this matter.

    During their today's meeting, British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Margaret Beckett and FM Gul also discussed recent developments. Beckett told Gul that Turkey is a regional power, adding that her country would be pleased if Turkey can assume a role in the settlement of this controversy.

    Subtitle: Iraq meeting

    On the other hand, Gul and Motaki talked about a meeting in which Iraq's neighbours would participate and planned to be held in Istanbul in April. Not only Motaki but also Beckett supported endeavours to organize such a meeting, sources indicated.

    Subtitle: Gul-Beckett meeting

    During their tete-a-tete meeting, Gul and Beckett also discussed Turkey's EU membership bid, Cyprus problem, developments in Iraq, and Iran's nuclear program controversy.

    On the other hand, Beckett said that isolation of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should be terminated, and pledged to do their best in coming days.

    On Iran's nuclear program, Gul said that Turkey has always asked Iran government to conduct a peaceful nuclear program, in a transparent way and in cooperation with international organizations.

    Diplomatic sources quoted Beckett as saying that they agree with this, but remembered that Iran is not cooperating. Beckett also added that her country has responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council.

    [03] Twenty MPs of Turkish origin from various European countries will participate in a meeting in occupied Kyrenia

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that twenty MPs of Turkish origin from various European countries will participate in a meeting in occupied Keryneia to be held next Saturday 31 March under the title Summit of MPs of Turkish Origin in Europe regarding Northern Cyprus.

    According to a statement issued by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, the self-styled speaker of the assembly, Fatma Ekenoglu, prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer, political party officials and heads or representatives of local and civilian organizations will also participate in the Summit, which will take place with the support of the presidency.

    The MPs from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria will arrive at illegal Tymbou airport on Friday. In the statement it is noted that the meeting will contribute to the efforts of informing Europe, the National Parliaments and the European public opinion about the realities in Cyprus, the so-called isolations and embargoes applied on the Turkish Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Avci was presented as Foreign Minister in the US

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, continued yesterday his contacts in Washington.

    According to information acquired from the ministry of foreign affairs, during his meetings Mr Avci Avci noted that the lobbying activities of the Turkish side should be strengthened abroad so that the world does not consider as valid what the others say.

    Mr Avci asked the support of the Turkish associations in America on this issue. He noted that in the direction of their new targets as ministry they must be everywhere and that their lobbying activities should be increased.

    Meanwhile, referring to Mr Avcis contacts Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (28.03.07, internet version) reports the following under the title Avc1 presented as KKTC foreign minister' :

    A member of the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) -- which is not internationally recognized -- was presented using his official KKTC title at a conference held in the US earlier this week.

    Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Turgay Avc1, who participated in an annual conference of the American-Turkish Council (ATC) on Monday in Washington, was introduced to the other participants as "KKTC foreign minister representing Turkish Cypriots at the conference." Following his talks and interviews with the media in Washington, Avc1 will hold a press conference on Friday at the Türkevi (Turkish House) in New York before his departure for Istanbul on Saturday .

    [05] General Kivrikoglu met with 104 heads of occupied villages; Cakici says the culture of the Turkish Cypriots is different than the one existing in Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES newspaper (28.03.07) reports that the day before yesterday the heads of 104 villages visited the commander of the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus, General Hayri Kivrikoglu in order to express their support and gratitude.

    The heads of the villages said that the wish of the Turkish Cypriots, which has not changed for years, is to live in a free and sovereign manner under the guarantees of motherland Turkey and in an environment of security created by the Turkish Armed Forces.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily VOLKAN newspaper (28.03.07) refers to the issue using as title a statement by General Kivrikoglu that the TRNC people have always supported their martyrs and all the national values.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that Mehmet Cakici, general secretary of the Peace and Democracy Movement (BDH), has noted that the Turkish Cypriots need lessons for nationalism from no one and added that they will continue their struggle for existence on these lands. In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Cakici said that the Turkish Cypriots are aware of their identity and cannot tolerate being humiliated. He noted that there is a difference of culture between Turkey and the occupied part of Cyprus and described this as normal.

    Everybody should try to understand the culture of each other and respect the differences, he added concluding that differences should not be seen as hostility.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Businessman was abducted and set free after being forced to pay 1.3 million Turkish liras

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that the day before yesterday four persons abducted Cafer Gurcafer, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors Union and led him to occupied Kantara area.

    Gurcafer was set free after being forced to sign six checks the total amount of which reached one million and 320 thousand new Turkish liras. The police of the breakaway regime took under custody four persons after a testimony by Gurcafer. These persons are Orhan, Ismail, Niyazi and Yilmaz Ozbayrak.

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (28.03.07) refers to the issue describing it as an unbelievable scenario. They abducted him, forced him to sign checks, did not kill him, set him free and he went to the police and had them arrested, notes the paper.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (28.03.07) refers to the issue under the title they abducted him with arms and threatened him with death.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (28.03.07), under the title Cafer film! reports that people do not believe what happened to Mr Curcafer and think that the whole issue is a fraud.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] One more chapter to be opened for negotiation on Turkey´s EU course

    Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (28.03.07) reports the following under the title: EU, Turkey return to negotiating table after 10-month hiatus:

    After a 10-month hiatus imposed by the Greek Cypriots, the EU agreed on Tuesday to open another chapter in its accession talks with Turkey after a mini-crisis between France and Spain.

    Spain, one of the strongest supporters of Turkey's EU bid, blocked a possible compromise last Friday on technical issues but agreed to the opening of accession talks with a new compromise among member states on Chapter 20. In an enlargement working group meeting Tuesday, member countries finally agreed to open Chapter 20 on enterprise and industrial policies after the German presidency held emergency talks between Spain, France and the European Commission (EC) on Monday.

    The intergovernmental conference will be held on Thursday in Brussels at the deputy level, meaning Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and his European colleagues will not attend the meeting. With this chapter to be opened Thursday, the EU has only opened two chapters with Ankara since talks started on Oct. 3, 2005.

    Compromise comes after France-Spain crisis

    Though EU member countries finally agreed on opening this chapter, the compromise only came after a mini crisis between France and Spain and not without additional burdens placed on Turkey.

    France, one of the most sceptical countries over Turkish EU membership and fast approaching its crucial presidential elections, wanted to slow down the talks. The real problem came when the French wanted to add another closing benchmark to Chapter 20.

    When the commission proposed the EU negotiating position on Chapter 20 at the end of February, there was no opening benchmark and only one closing benchmark that sought the implementation of an additional protocol pertaining to Cyprus. Until after the second week of March, member countries signalled no displeasure with the EC proposal, raising expectations that the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) of EU states would adopt the text as it was sent by the commission.

    However, on March 16 the French came up with new questions, making it clear that they would be asking Turkey to present an updated strategy on its industrial policy, which Ankara had already done in 2003. Despite requests by member countries for a written proposal, France refused to do so. France had harshly criticized Turkey in December when Turkey proposed opening one of its ports to Greek vessels but refused to put it in writing.

    On March 19, term president Germany presented a new draft without consulting some member countries. On March 20, seven member countries -- including Britain, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Czech Republic -- protested the way the Germans handled the issue. In the draft, Germany put another closing benchmark parallel with the French demands. In the second closing benchmark, four references were inserted to specific sectors.

    Spain criticized both Germany and France, stressing that EU draft papers cannot be devised to satisfy only certain member countries, asking for the shipbuilding industry to be included as well. On Monday, the German presidency added the shipbuilding industry to its to-do list for Turkey. Only then was a compromise reached on Tuesday.

    [08] Conference for the Treaty of Rome at the illegal New East University

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.07) reports that the International Relations Section of the illegal Near East University will organize a conference today on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Mr Jochen Schult, official at the office established by the EU in the occupied areas for supporting the Turkish Cypriots, will be among those to address the meeting.

    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [09] Findings of a poll on Turkey´s social structure, and attitudes towards ethnic groups

    Turkish ISTANBUL MILLIYET newspaper (19.03.07) published part one of an eight-part series entitled "Who Are We?" on the results of a Milliyet-KONDA survey conducted in September-October 2006 under the title A Colorful First:

    Reading Turkey's social fabric using a scientific, impartial, and objective X-ray picture, instead of information based on estimates, is vitally important for overcoming the country's problems. A study conducted with the collaboration of Milliyet and KONDA at 2,721 locations in Turkey is an important first step in this direction. The study reveals every aspect of Turkey's social structure in all of its colors.

    Introduction

    We believe that the survey we are publishing will contribute to finding the answers sought to many of Turkey's problems. The survey, in its present form, can serve as a "code box."

    Turkey has been experiencing serious problems and bottlenecks in its development and modernization process. Consequently, a lively debate is under way in the country on different approaches to reinvigorate this process. A detailed picture of [Turkey's] social structure in terms of the elements that constitute its national identity and its ethnic and religious affiliations in this context is of utmost importance in this search for solutions.

    Dramatic Picture

    The ethnic structure of Anatolia, which has been the historic crossroads of nations spread over three continents, did not change only on key dates associated with wars and conquests. When we talk about Turkey's social structure, we cannot ignore the effects of the defining role played by conciliation and fusion processes over many millennia.

    Similarly, it would be unfair to Anatolia, a melting pot that has simmered for thousands of years, to say that there is a single concept of religion, or even a single interpretation of Islam in Turkey. The truth is that all sects and ethnic groups--large or small--that have lived on these lands have mutually influenced each other by pushing and pulling against each other over thousands of years. The existence of every different group has affected the way the others have existed.

    Consequently, every group, regardless of its size, has been important for every other group. As a result, every group earned the right to be studied and to be included in this survey regardless of how small it is.

    Mobile Population

    We cannot interpret our current social structure without reading correctly the mobility of the population in a geographic sense. For example, internal migration currents, which began as movements from villages to cities in the 1950's and which continued in the form of movements among cities 20 years later, change the structures of both cities and villages as well as their societies.

    Migration out of Turkey or into Turkey from overseas, illegal workers, illegal migrants, and many other population movements may cause havoc in all regional and social structures, as we have seen in the case of shantytown sprawls.

    This study, on the other hand, aims to incorporate every consequence of such a mobile structure.

    Identification for Solutions

    It would not be too far-fetched to say that "everyone, without exception, wishes to live in peace and tranquility on these lands." Furthermore, we can easily say that social peace is the principal prerequisite for overcoming social bottlenecks.

    One important step that needs to be taken in this framework is the development of a clear and unadorned identification picture, like the one you are reading in Milliyet.

    Thanks to this study, all decision makers can begin their work using basic information that has been impartially compiled on a scientific basis rather than estimates that sometimes coincide with their personal interests.

    Those Saying 'I Am Kurdish'

    We called this study "Who Are We?" It was conducted with the purpose of describing Turkey's social structure comprehensively and objectively. The results describe impartially every aspect of Turkey's ethnic and religious identity structure.

    For example, one question that is very frequently asked without a satisfactory answer is: How many people in Turkey identify themselves as "Kurdish"? The EU's 2004 progress report for Turkey estimated this number at "15 to 20 million." Democratic Society Party General Chairman Ahmet Turk put it at "25 million." Which of these numbers is correct?

    There is another question that is just as important as the numbers: What do the Kurds want and what do they think with regard to debates over identity? Conversely, what do people with other ethnic identities want for Kurds? This study has brought to surface answers that come closest to the truth on questions that many people have tried to answer out of personal or political concerns until now.

    Turks, Laz, Alevis

    The number of people who identify themselves as "Turkish" or "Muslim" is also not known. How many people really identify themselves as "Laz," "Arab," or "Circassian"? What do they think?

    How many people identify themselves as "Sunni," "Alevi," or "Muslim Turkish," and what do they want? Conversely, how do they feel about each other? Most politicians say in their speeches that "99 percent of our country is Muslim." To what extent does this echo the truth?

    This study seeks to identify not only ethnic and religious affiliations in the country, but also their geographical distribution patterns, population movements, and the social dynamics they create. These parameters are also examined within the framework of different levels of social security, education, and income.

    Another aim of the study is to reveal the views of a society with such a complex structure with regard to "domestic accord." That is because every difference, no matter how small, is a part of Turkey's identity.

    How the Study Was Conducted

    More than 1,500 persons worked on this survey, the most comprehensive of its kind outside those conducted by public agencies. The survey involved face-to-face interviews with 47,958 persons who were selected using statistical sampling methods.

    With nearly 50,000 subjects, the scope of this survey is ten to 20 times larger than those of similar public opinion polls. Consequently, it contains proportionately more "detailed" information.

    The factor that deserves the most attention in this type of study and that affects its entire outcome is the process of "sampling," that is the process of selecting the subjects polled and their locations because, even when a large number of persons is interviewed, it is hard to select a representative sample of a society with as much breadth as ours.

    The first stage of the study involved the preparation of sample sets, literature search, and field planning work. Then three different sample sets were prepared. One of these represented all of Turkey, the second Turkey's 12 regions, and the third the country's 13 big cities that will have populations of more than 1 million by 2010 according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. It was important to select a sample set that represents the population correctly in order for it to be statistically reliable. To that end, the intersection points of these three sample sets were selected to identify the locations where the interviews would be conducted.

    Rural and urban population distribution patterns, size of settlements, educational status, voting patterns in the 2002 general election, the participation of women in the labor force, and land prices per square meter were also used as factors affecting the selection of subjects.

    A large sample set was created using all the parameters mentioned above, and 49,000 individuals in 2,271 city wards or villages were identified as interviewees. Then face-to-face interviews were conducted in homes with 18 persons aged 18 or above in each ward and village while complying with certain age and gender quotas.

    This process produced a survey that has the capability to represent society fully and that can allow the extraction of detailed data in every respect.

    Reached Everyone

    Why were nearly 50,000 persons interviewed in this study when no more than 3,000 subjects are normally used to measure any nationwide trends? The first answer to this question is, naturally, "sensitivity." However, our study also shows that it is impossible to describe the status, attitudes, behaviors, values, and preferences of the Turkish people using only generalizations. Turkey is experiencing many changes simultaneously in its modernization process. For this reason, the attitudes and behaviors of individuals exhibit differences depending on where they stand with respect to the different aspects of the change process or the extent of their participation in the country's economic development.

    Another truth we have gathered from this study is that the regions of residence and the ethnic or religious backgrounds of individuals play as big a role in the formation of their social structures and their preferences as their gender or level of education. For example, the ethnic background of subjects sometimes plays a more influential role than their education in their opinions about certain issues.

    The survey aims to identify all the different perceptions and inclinations of every segment of society. Only by selecting such a high number of subjects could the study have the representation required to go down to details rather than gleaning only the country's general inclinations.

    The size of the sample set used in this study was also set by the desire to reach meaningful numbers of people from groups that constitute as little as one ten-thousandth of the population.

    Large Number of Pollsters

    More than 1,500 persons across the country worked on the portion of the study involving face-to-face interviews with nearly 50,000 subjects--that is in "field work." Of these, 22 served as regional directors, 150 as team leaders, and 1,400 as pollsters and controllers.

    The study was conducted using face-to-face interviews with 47,958 people at nearly 3,000 locations in all parts of Turkey over a period of exactly one month and was completed in October 2006.

    First Requisite of Citizenship: Love of Turkey

    One of the most dramatic results of the study is related to how people view their ties of citizenship. Specifically, 82 percent of the subjects said that "love of Turkey" is a prerequisite of citizenship in the Turkish Republic. The criterion of ethnic background was ranked last.

    Striking results were obtained in the "social structure" study conducted for Milliyet's "Who Are We?" series of articles. The overwhelming majority of the subjects included in the study gave top ranking to "love of Turkey" among the criteria they were offered as possible prerequisites for citizenship in the Turkish Republic.

    The subjects were asked the following question on the issue of "citizenship ties," a topic that has recently been the subject of intense debate:

    Some people argue that the criteria enumerated below are essential for a person to be a true citizen of the Turkish Republic. Others argue that they are not essential. In your opinion, are the criteria listed below essential or not?

    Is it essential to be of Turkish ethnic background?

    Is it essential to say "I am from Turkey" regardless of ethnic background?

    Is it essential to be a Muslim?

    Is it essential to love Turkey?

    Love of Turkey Primary Requirement

    As the chart above shows, 82 percent of the population thinks that "love of Turkey is essential for being a citizen of the Turkish Republic." In addition, 63.8 percent of the people believe that "saying 'I am from Turkey' regardless of ethnic background" is essential for citizenship. Conversely, 54.31 percent and 45.64 percent believe that "being Muslim" and "having Turkish ethnic background," respectively, are essential for citizenship.

    What this suggests is that the people of the country consider sentiment and belief more important than ethnic background for citizenship in the Turkish Republic.

    Furthermore, the great majority of those who believe that [Turkish] ethnic background and being Muslim are essential or very important for Turkish citizenship have below high school education.

    All of our people love their homeland without emphasizing their ethnic background and consider this love a prerequisite of their citizenship ties.

    Citizenship Ties by Ethnic Background

    Different findings emerge when the answers are broken down by the ethnic background of the subjects. The majority of the respondents with Turkish ethnicity do not agree that a "Turkish ethnic background" is essential for being a citizen of the Turkish Republic (only 29 percent believe this is essential). Furthermore, they agree with the other criteria in the same proportions as the general population.

    The opinions of Arab [Arabic-speaking] respondents are not much different from those of the general public on other issues, but most of them do not agree with the criterion of "Turkish ethnic background" for citizenship. Specifically, 29.8 percent Arab respondents find that "Turkish ethnic background" is essential for being a citizen of the Turkish Republic.

    The position of respondents who identify themselves as "Kurdish" is similar to that of the general public on the criterion of "being Muslim" for citizenship. However, the overwhelming majority of the Kurds do not believe that [Turkish] ethnic background is essential for citizenship. The Kurds find that ethnic background and saying "I am Turkish" regardless of ethnic background are not essential for being a citizen of the Turkish Republic (76.3 percent and 40.3 percent, respectively, answered "not essential" for these two criteria). Conversely, 52.5 percent of Kurds find that "love of Turkey" is essential for citizenship.

    Respondents in the "other ethnic background" category agree least that being Muslim is essential for citizenship. Only 38.5 percent of the respondents who identify themselves as being of "other ethnic background" believe that being Muslim is essential for citizenship.

    Constitutional Definition of Citizenship

    Article 66 in the "Political Rights and Obligations" section of the Constitution defines [the Turkish identity] with the sentence: "Everyone who is affiliated with the Turkish State with ties of citizenship is Turkish." As such, the Constitution bases Turkish identity only on citizenship ties and not on race or ethnic background.

    Ethnic Identity, State

    One of the important findings of the study is the respondents' views on whether the state should help citizens to preserve their ethnic identities and to practice their beliefs freely. In this section, survey participants were asked the following questions:

    Should the state provide support for ethnic groups to preserve their customs and traditions?

    Should the state provide support for citizens to practice their religious beliefs with their own rules and worship rites?

    Our people maintain a considerably tolerant attitude with regard to state support for the existence and development of ethnic or religious groups that are different from their own. (This attitude changes when the same question is asked in connection with a specific ethnic group.)

    Indeed, 66.58 percent of the respondents approve state support for ethnic groups and 76.45 percent agree with state support for religious groups. This approval rate is higher among women than in the overall sample set. The approval rate for state support for ethnic and religious groups is higher among better educated and lower age groups. Support for religious groups has broader acceptance than for ethnic groups.

    Ethnic Support by Region

    When broken down by region, [the results suggest that] there is stronger approval for support for religious groups rather than for ethnic groups. The strongest approval for state support for ethnic groups is found in Central East Anatolia (Bingol, Elazig, Malatya, Tunceli, Bitlis, Hakkari, Mus, Van) with 90.72 percent; and in Southeast Anatolia with 86.30 percent. The lowest approval rates for such support are found in the Eastern Black Sea and the Aegean regions.

    Approval Rates for State Support

    Opinions on state support change with ethnic identity. The Kurds are almost unanimously in favor of state support for both ethnic and religious groups. Conversely, Turks express the least approval for such support.

    Approval rates for state support for ethnic groups varies among ethnic identities in the following order: Kurds, 96.3 percent; other ethnic identities, 82.8 percent; Arabs, 81.2 percent; individuals who do not feel any affiliation with any ethnic group and who describe themselves in "general" terms, 69.9 percent; individuals with Turkic backgrounds (such as immigrants from the Balkans and the Caucasus), 66.6 percent; and Turks, 62.9 percent.

    EG/


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