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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 10:46 GMT
Poll reveals Turkish conservatism
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News, Istanbul

EU poster
The survey tackled issues such as women, religion and EU entry
An opinion poll in Turkey has revealed deep conservatism on all matters concerning the family and sexuality.

The survey from across the country showed a strong intolerance towards homosexuality and co-habitation.

The survey, which polled over-18s of both sexes in 15 regions, also revealed a considerable fall in support for European Union membership.

There were also signs of strong scepticism about some of the EU's intentions towards Turkey.

You would not know it from a night out in cosmopolitan Istanbul, but it seems two-thirds of Turks across the country disapprove of people who go to bars and nightclubs.

Even more are apparently uncomfortable with homosexuality. And 56% say they disapprove of men who wear earrings.

Those are just some of the findings from the nationwide survey that explores the mind of modern Turkey, a country governed by moderate Islamists, but with its sails set for membership of the European Union.

EU scepticism

The poll reveals deep conservatism on all things concerning the family and on the role of women there in particular.

Whilst almost nine in 10 people questioned said women should be equal in politics and business, two in three also said a woman should give up her career if her duties to husband and home are suffering.

Religion is a key factor in all major decisions. But according to the survey most Turks are tolerant of other Muslims who do not fast, cover their heads or pray.

When it comes to the EU, many say they believe Brussels wants to divide and weaken Turkey. The survey shows an 11% drop in support for membership in two years.

Overall, though, it confirms that almost two thirds of all Turks still do want to become part of Europe, however cautious they are, and conservative.


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