ANKARA, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Nearly one-in-ten Turks do not regard Islamic State as a terrorist organisation, and more than 5 percent agree with their actions, according to a new survey published on Tuesday.
The data was released on the same day as a suspected Syrian suicide bomb attack in the heart of Istanbul’s tourist district which killed at least 10 people and raised fresh fears of Islamist violence in the NATO member country.
The United Nations, including Turkey, brand the group, which has taken swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, a terrorist organisation.
The research, entitled Turkey’s Social Trends Survey, was carried out by an Ankara-based think-tank and surveyed more than 1,500 people across Turkey — a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation — in November.
In response to questions, 9.3 percent of respondents said that Islamic State was not a terrorist organisation, with 5.4 percent supporting its actions.
Twenty-one percent said it represents Islam and 8.9 percent believe the group is a country or state, according to the research, which paints a picture of a small but significant pool of potential Islamic State sympathisers among Turkey’s 78 million inhabitants.