The percentage of those who are satisfied with their lives in Turkey has increased by 18 percent since 2001, according to the 2011 Turkey Values Survey released on Thursday.

Conducted by Bahçeşehir University, the poll found that 77 percent of people living in Turkey are happy. In 2001, a similar survey revealed that 59 percent of people were satisfied with their lives.

The poll’s findings juxtapose the satisfaction of people in various groups. Eighty-four percent of gay and lesbian partners are happy. Sixty-eight percent of common-law couples said they are satisfied with their lives.

The poll found that 39 percent of followers of a religion other than Islam are happy, and 64 percent of atheists answered the same.

Thirty-nine percent of expats in Turkey experience satisfaction in their lives.

University President Dr. Yılmaz Esmer told media on Thursday, “Turkey’s economy has grown dramatically. For Turks, this was the greatest factor in being satisfied with life.”

Esmer said the results regarding people’s financial situations were remarkable. Asked to rate the stability of the financial situation at home, 63 percent of people answered “adequate.” This is an increase from 2009 when only 47 percent gave the same response.

Despite their stable financial situations at home, 68 percent of people in Turkey worry that they will not be able to find work if they were to lose their jobs.

According to the research, Esmer said economic development helps reduce the differences between classes of people living in Turkey.

In 1996, 47 percent of people identified themselves as middle-class; this figure rose to 69 percent in 2011.Those who call themselves members of the working class dropped from 43 to 25 percent in the same time period. Likewise, people who feel they are in the lower class dropped by four points in 14 years to 5 percent.

Because of the improvements in people’s lives in Turkey, Esmer said they are more relaxed and can trust others more. This is evident in the poll’s findings.

Public confidence in the military has decreased, while trust in the government has increased. Those who trust the military dropped from 91 percent in 1991 to 75 percent in 2011, the poll found. People who agree with the statement “If necessary, I would fight for my country” decreased by 11 points, from 97 to 86 percent. Also, 75 percent of people said they trust the police.

Though still less trusted than the military and the police, confidence in the

government increased by 32 points, from 29 percent in 2001 to 61 percent in 2011. The majority of the population supports a democratic system, according to the survey. However, many long for a “strong leader.”

However, more people living in Turkey are refusing to participate in politics. The poll found that abstention from voting has increased. Also, the ratio of people who say they would not sign a collective petition increased in 2011. In 2001, 46 percent said they would refuse to sign, while in 2011 that number climbed to 61 percent.

Those who do not respect human rights fell dramatically from 53 to 16 percent.

Forty-one percent of people trust the media, the survey found. However, the poll also found that only 23 percent of people trust someone they meet for the first time.

The poll also showed what concerns people living in Turkey. Seventy-six percent of parents are worried they cannot provide a good education for their children, according to the survey. Also, 52 percent of people living in Turkey are concerned about their conversations on the phone and e-mail being tracked.

At 76 percent, people living in Turkey feel very safe in their neighborhoods, according to the survey.

The poll was conducted in 54 provinces using face-to-face interviews with 605,000 people.

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