September 16, 2010 - 18:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - More Turks favor strengthening ties with Middle Eastern countries, than with the 27 members of the European block, according to an international poll published on Thursday by British newspaper The Guardian.
The Transatlantic Trends survey was held among the citizens of 11 European Union members, the United States and Turkey. Twenty percent of the Turkish respondents said that Middle Eastern countries need to be their key partners in the international ring, while only 13% said they prefer the European Union. In a similar survey held last year the trend was opposite, with more respondents favoring ties with the European Union than with the Middle East.
According to the Guardian, the findings reflect the shift in Turkish public opinion following events of the past year. In May, Turkey formed an agreement with Iran vis-à-vis its nuclear program, which was rejected by the Western powers. Later that month, the Israeli navy raided the Turkish Marmara ship, killing several Turkish citizens.
The survey revealed a similar trend among the European nations, with only a quarter of the respondents favoring Turkey's inclusion in the European Union. Germany and France demonstrated even lower enthusiasm with only 16% supporting the initiative. However, about half of the European respondents said they expected Ankara to join the Union regardless of their stance.
Findings also indicated that the Turks are not big fans of the United States, despite the appointment of Barack Obama as president. Only 28% of Turks supported Obama, compared with 50% support rates in a similar poll held the year before.