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Polarization in Turkey alarming says report.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The level of polarization among the supporters of Turkey's major political parties has reached alarming levels, according to a report by the Corporate Social Responsibility Association (KSSD) and Bilgi University.

The report, unveiled at a press conference in ystanbul on Monday, states that polarization in Turkey not only encourages ostracization of certain groups, but also skews individuals' perceptions of certain identities.

For example, the report claims that Turkey's Kurds feel that they are the most marginalized minority group in Turkey.

According to the report, which was compiled with information from 1,024 individuals between Dec. 3 and 10, 2015 in 16 provinces, the ethnic group that feel the most marginalized in Turkey is the Kurds. Only 24 percent of those who identify themselves most as Kurdish feel that they receive respect from other members of the community.

The groups with the highest levels of self-confidence are those that relate with conservatism, 73 percent; those identifying themselves as religious, 67 percent; Turks, 61 percent; and educated people, 56 percent.

The polarization in Turkey can be seen more closely when one examines the relations between the ruling and opposition parties, says the report. Sixty-five percent of those who said they would vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said they feel the opposition is "impeding the workings of the government."

However, those who vote for the other three main political parties currently in Parliament said they believe that the government should be scrutinized for its decisions, even if that means the opposition parties slow down the process of governance.

In conclusion, the report states that the "social distance" between the grassroots of the political parties in Turkey has increased substantially and notes that supporters prefer to view the shared problems of Turkey through the lens of their chosen political party.

The report mentions that analysts who examined the report underlined that the government needs to start implementing measures to combat polarization in order to create a healthy democracy.

Many critics, including leaders and members of the opposition parties, view President Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an as the source of polarization. Erdoy-an, who until becoming president in August 2014 was the chairman of the AK Party, still has strong ties to the party.

Among one of the chief findings of the report is that people perceive the world according to the ideologies of the parties they support. It also notes that polarization has increased in Turkey when compared with the past, and the extent of polarization is expected to grow further.

The report also states that people in Turkey obtain information from their desired sources and deem the rest "unimpartial."

The report stipulates that 18 percent of those who participated in the survey felt they had been treated unfairly at job interviews, while 17.3 percent felt they had been hard done by at police stations and a further 14.1 percent felt that they had been treated badly by state institutions.

Kurds felt the most marginalized among those surveyed, with 23.7 percent feeling that they had been treated unfairly at state institutions, 23.9 percent felt they had been treated unfairly at hospitals and 22.9 percent said they had been treated unfairly at job interviews.

Also, 83 percent of those who were asked if they would want their daughter to marry a person supporting the party they disliked the most said "no."

[Cihan/Today's Zaman] CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Feb 1, 2016
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