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Life in Transition: Turkey

Key findings (%, weighted)

 
Turkey Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 50 43 72
Trust in others 17 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 41 21 9
Concerned about climate change 60 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 35 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 47 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • Nearly one-half of households in Turkey have been hurt by the economic crisis. This is comparable to the transition region average and slightly higher than the average for the western European comparators. The crisis has had a much bigger impact on people in the lower socio-economic categories.

Life satisfaction

  • Life satisfaction has increased in Turkey and is slightly higher than the average for the transition region. While satisfaction has almost uniformly increased among most age and income brackets, it has fallen by a few percentage points among people in the upper-income range. It has increased most among the over-60s and those in the lower-income bracket. There seems to be a strong correlation between life satisfaction and the reported improvement by more than one-half of respondents in the socio-economic situation in the country since 2006.

     

    The percentage of respondents who think that children born today will have a better life is slightly lower than the transition region average and is falling. Levels of reported optimism
    have decreased almost uniformly across different age and income categories. However, it appears that they have fallen most among the younger generation and people in the upper-income bracket.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Almost 35 per cent of respondents prefer a combination of democracy and a market economy over other socio-economic systems. However, proportion of respondents who favour a combination of democracy and a planned economy (under some circumstances) is also relatively high, at 20 per cent.
    As in the rest of the transition region, most people would be willing to forego some political liberties to live in a country with robust growth.

     

    Turks have a strong belief in the democratic nature of their basic institutions. Almost two-thirds of respondents think that the country has freedom of speech, free and fair elections, law and order and a strong political opposition. This confidence in Turkey’s democratic institutions compares well with western European comparator countries.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • Turkish respondents have very low levels of trust in others. Generalised trust has fallen since 2006, remaining very low and well below the average for the transition region. It has fallen among all age and income categories, but more markedly among lower- and middle-income groups.

     

    Although the level of generalised trust is low, more than one-half of respondents have strong confidence in most of their public institutions. This level of trust has remained high, especially for the armed forces, the police and the religious institutions, and is well above the western European comparator average.

Corruption perception

  • The level of perceived corruption in Turkey is significant and higher than levels in many of the other transition countries. Perceived corruption has uniformly increased among most of the public sector. Almost 15 per cent of respondents report making irregular and unofficial payments when dealing with traffic police, civil courts, public health facilities or when applying for unemployment benefits. Despite these findings, about 41 per cent of respondents believe that levels of corruption have decreased since 2006.

Priorities for government spending

  • More than 40 per cent of respondents would prefer extra government expenditure on education. Further spending on health care, pensions and helping the poor are also high priorities.


Full report

  • The Life in Transition Survey provides vivid evidence of precisely how lives have been affected by the global economic crisis and its aftermath.

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