RELEASE: CAP Poll Shows Deep Ambivalence in Turkey Toward the European Union

Washington, D.C. — As the Turkish government works to rebuild ties with the European Union, the Center for American Progress has a new issue brief shedding light on Turkey’s attitudes toward the European Union based on recent polling.

The nationwide survey conducted by Metropoll from May 24 to June 4, 2018, shows deep ambivalence in Turkey toward the European Union across party lines, with less than half of Turks saying they want the country to be part of the bloc.

Just 20 percent of Turks think European governments want Turkey in the European Union, the poll shows. Still, the European Union is attractive, and nearly two-thirds of Turks would like to travel, study, or work in the European Union.

“Despite the current Turkish government charm offensive in Europe, there is limited room to maneuver with public attitudes so negative on both sides of the relationship,” said Max Hoffman, author of the report and the associate director of National Security and International Policy at CAP. “Years of negative coverage in the Turkish press, and often unhelpful comments from European leaders, have mired the relationship in mistrust and hostility.”

More than 60 percent of Turks believe the EU-Turkish migration deal was bad for Turkey. And while a majority of Turks say their country has fulfilled its side of the bargain, just 10 percent feel the European Union has done its part. Turkish citizens remain broadly supportive of NATO, but many also support building a lasting alliance with Russia, an idea that earned 57 percent support.

Read the issue brief: “A Snapshot of Turkish Public Opinion Toward the European Union” by Max Hoffman

For more information or to speak to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at or 202-478-6327.