Gallup surveys conducted amid the recent protests in Turkey show that Turks living in large cities are increasingly losing faith in the country’s main institutions, including the military.
According to the Gallup surveys conducted between May 19 and June 23, only 43 percent of Turks living in large cities with at least 100,000 inhabitants expressed confidence in the national government, compared with 68 percent of residents of smaller cities and rural areas. In 2012, 50 percent of large-city dwellers expressed confidence in the government, while this percentage was 57 among rural residents.
Most of the surveys took place after the raids on protesters’ camps in İstanbul’s Gezi Park on May 30 and 31. The police action triggered protests in other major cities across the country. Gallup’s data, however, show that urban Turks’ discontent with their country’s institutions was growing before the recent unrest.
In 2011, before Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won a third term, urban and rural Turks were equally likely to express confidence in several of the country’s public institutions. By 2012, these two groups’ views of the national government and the judicial system started to slowly drift apart, with urban Turks withdrawing support. This rift became larger in 2013 and included a loss of support for the military among urbanites.
According to the surveys, 49 percent of Turks living in large cities expressed confidence in the judicial system, compared with 66 percent of residents of smaller cities and rural areas. This confidence divide in the judiciary has never been greater between urban and rural Turks. In 2012, 48 percent of urban Turks expressed confidence in the judiciary compared with 53 percent of residents of smaller cities.
The Gallup data also show that Turks living in small cities and rural areas are now clearly more likely to say they trust the military than large-city dwellers — 81 percent versus 59 percent respectively. In previous years, the two groups exhibited similar levels of confidence in the military.