Poll sees Turkey taking role of regional leader
More and more Turkey is playing a greater political role in the Middle East, according to a new poll by the Associated Press and GfK Roper Public Affairs. After being hobbled by economic and political chaos just a decade ago, Turkey is increasingly taking on the role of regional model, mediator and leader, with a solid economy and an evolving democracy, says the poll, conducted last November and December, based on interviews with 1,200 adults. "As Egypt erupted a few weeks ago, one fellow Muslim country insistently urged President Hosni Mubarak to respond to popular demands. That country was Turkey," reported the AP. "The call was a sign of Turkey's growing confidence and stature in the Middle East and beyond." As general elections approach in June, the poll suggests that Ankara will pursue a path of relative pragmatism, despite fears by some of the influence of Islam on the state. According to the poll, Turkey still hopes to join the European Union, but that once-strong vision appears to have faded. The poll found that 52 percent of respondents want Turkey to stay in NATO, and 50 percent want to join the European Union.