A rising number of people in Turkey believe that the free speech and human rights are declining in the country, according to a new survey.
The rate of Turkish citizens who believe that “people cannot express their opinions freely and without any fear in Turkey” increased from 44 percent in 2011 to 56 percent in 2015, according to the survey conducted by academics Ali Çarkoğlu and S. Erdem Aytaç with the support of the Open Society Institute, Koç University, and the Ohio State University School of Communication.
There is a sharp difference between respondents who plan to vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and those who plan to vote for opposition parties with respect to the perception of freedom of speech, according to the survey, titled “Public Opinion Dynamics ahead of June 2015 elections.”
Among AKP voters, only 28 percent said “people cannot express their opinions freely and without any fear in Turkey” while this rate is 75 percent among those who will vote for one of the opposition parties, the survey revealed.
The rate of respondents who believe that “the state does not respect human rights” also increased from 38 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2015.
With regard to the secular-religion fault line, the rate of respondents who believed that “Muslims can perform their worship freely” increased from 78 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2015.
In contrast, a rising number of respondents said they believe that secular people cannot live their life freely, with 11 percent saying this in 2011 and 18 percent in 2015.
On the ongoing process aiming to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey, a large majority of respondents, 65 percent, said they believe the problem can be solved with “economic development” in the country’s southeastern region, rather than the reforms in ethnicity and culture.
The survey was conducted among 2,201 respondents in 49 provinces through face-to-face interviews between March 19 and April 26.