China is winning Turkish hearts and minds following the earthquake, survey finds

Turkey China Turkish President Receip Tayyip Erdogan Chinese President Xi Jinping

The after-effects of the tragic earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria are still being felt more than one month on, both literally and metaphorically. As a report mentions, global assistance has been provided - China donated just $5.8m to assist Turkey, while the US pledged $185m and the UK $30m.

A recent poll by Premise, a research technology and data company, asked 1,000 Turks from across the country for their views on the international relief effort, the contributions from various aid agencies and also for their views on causes of the catastrophic damage.

The managing director of Premise, Arthur Soames, explained that "starkest finding in data is that China is perceived as being far and away the most valued country in providing disaster relief: 72% of our nationally representative sample had a positive or very positive impression of China’s contribution, while the US, despite providing more than 20 times as much cash, was perceived in a similar light by only 59% of the population."

"Having invested historically in their relationship with Turkey, China has found it simple to project its influence as a high-profile presence in the disaster relief from the start. This has clearly struck a powerful chord with people. The US, on the other hand, has had to pay a vastly higher premium in return for credit from the Turkish people."

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"Qatar is perhaps the most surprising outlier to have secured a powerful, positive impression amongst Turks: 26% believed that Qatar has provided the greatest support to the relief effort, the highest figure for any country.

"A lot of this must have been due to Qatar’s decision to donate 10,000 housing units to the affected area that were left over from last year’s World Cup.

"The donation received widespread coverage in the Turkish media and clearly had a powerful impact – proof that Qatar continues to receive international and diplomatic benefits from hosting the World Cup."

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"Behind these two comes the EU. It came in third with 16% of people saying that it had provided the most support, while 11% thought it would be most capable of assisting in the rebuild.

"By contrast, the relief effort from the US and the UK does not appear to have been particularly recognised. Only 8% of the poll felt that the US had done the most. The UK falls much further behind, barely registering 1%."

Read the full report here.

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