Turkish Perception of Disaster Relief


Insight Report | 17 February 2023

On 6 February 2023, two earthquakes affected southern Turkey. Estimates suggest tens of thousands of Turks were killed and over 6,000 buildings destroyed. The disaster relief and reconstruction effort is likely to dominate local media ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in May 2023. Premise launched a survey to measure Turkish perceptions of the international and domestic response.

  • Attitudes to foreign disaster relief were largely positive (Figure 1).
  • Attitudes towards the UK response were relatively muted. When respondents were asked why they had a positive view of the UK response, responses focussed on the UK’s deployment of search and rescue personnel. It is likely these results reflect the volume and subject matter of local media coverage of the UK response.
  • 72% of respondents expressed positive attitudes towards China’s response and 25% believed China was most capable of assisting reconstruction (Figure 2). These views likely reflect awareness of China’s response and economic resources, which almost certainly provide opportunities for Chinese influence, especially given the fragile state of the Turkish economy and potential for political change following elections in May.
  • 26% of respondents believed that Qatar had provided the most support (Figure 2), likely due to the survey coinciding with media coverage of a Qatari donation of 10,000 accommodation units used by visitors to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This announcement likely had a strong influence on respondents given its timing and ability to engage a wide audience.
  • 46% of respondents believed the Erdogan administration had done enough to help those affected, with similar questions also suggesting a level of confidence around 50%. These results likely reflect pre-existing political affiliations, suggesting the absence of an overriding narrative concerning the domestic response.
  • 88% of respondents believed the Turkish Government was not prepared for the earthquakes and 59% believed corruption in state institutions made them deadlier. Those whose close acquaintances had been affected were more critical. This likely reflects narratives around failed building regulations and related spending, which President Erdogan is failing to stifle or control.


From 15 February 2023 to 18 February 2023, Premise surveyed a stratified sample of 1,002 adults, representative by age and gender across Turkey


Within 24 hours, Premise surveyed 500 Contributors achieving the following demographic breakdown:

  • Gender: 70% male / 30% female
  • Age: 18 to 25: 50% / 26 to 35: 35% / 36 to 45: 10% / 46 and above: 5%.