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    Mehmet Yilmaz: Research on the "Average Turk"

    Hürriyet Haber
    13.05.2008 - 11:56 | Son Güncelleme:

    I received the results of research conducted by Associate Professor Dr Hakan Yilmaz from Bosporus University from the editor-in-chief of Capital magazine, Sedef Seckin Buyuk.

    The research is titled: "Determining middle class Turkey." I am sure you have read many articles recently since the debate over the "Average Turk"* began.

    The results of this research will help you to make a more comprehensive evaluation of this issue.     

    The research conducted between September and October in 2007; we can say it is current and relevant, has a margin of error of plus-minus 2.3.

    According to the research, 58.3 percent of Turks see themselves as "middle class" and 24.8 percent of themselves as "slightly below middle class."

    A total of 41.6 percent of respondents say they are only surviving and paying rent with their earnings; while 38.6 percent indicated that they need more than 2,400 new Turkish liras (YTL) ($1900) to get by.

    A total of 78.9 percent say they survive on the income they earned.

    With any sizable sums of money they might receive, 28.9 percent of Turks would first purchase a house. While 20.8 percent said their priority would be to purchase a car and 14.1 percent would spend the money on their children’s education.

    The majority of Turks, 47.7 percent, believe that the rich worked consistently and hard for their wealth. And in line with this thinking, 55.3 percent of respondents believe the poor are this way because they do not work hard enough.

    A total of 34.9 percent of respondents define themselves as being politically right wing; while 14.6 percent define themselves as politically left. Those respondents, who are sympathetic to the political left and right and define themselves as "politically central," total 24.1 percent.

    The research revealed that 43.9 percent of Turks classify themselves being "post-right wing political," supporting democracy and the values of the West.

     

    While 44.9 say "secularism must continue to be implemented without change"; 12.3 percent say they have a new interpretation for secularism.

     

    The ratio of those neutral on this issue is 8.5 percent.

     

    Public support for Turkey’s European Union membership was recorded at 57.4 percent; with 58.9 percent saying they would be sympathetic to the reforms carried out in accordance with the membership process.

     

    A total 62.7 percent of respondents describe themselves as modern conservatives.

     

    While 73 percent of modern conservatives say that wearing a headscarf is not a sign of being pious but being of good character.

     

    I recommend that Prime Minister Erdogan, who said, "We are the party of the average Turk," Republican People's Party leader Deniz Baykal and Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli read this research.

     

    It is apparent that the opinions of Turks in the streets do not fit with the template they have outlined in their minds.

     

    * The "Average Turk" debate began in Turkey when Prime Minister Erdogan used this concept in an interview published in Newsweek magazine at the beginning of May. Erdogan said, "We are the party of the average Turk" during an interview he conducted with Owen Matthews from Newsweek.

     

     

     

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