Turkish society holds the lowest favourable opinion on NATO among 16 member states out of 29, according to PEW research.

Turkey has grown increasingly estranged with NATO over a range of issues, especially the alliance's tacit or overt support to terrorist groups such as the YPG in northern Syria and its reluctance to repel security threats that affect Ankara the most.

The perception has battered NATO's reputation in Turkey, and its support for the alliance is lower compared to all other member states, according to Pew Research Center (PEW) survey.

At present, popular support for NATO is at 21 percent in Turkey, while 55 percent of Turkish citizens hold an unfavourable opinion of the military alliance.

Despite recent tensions between individual countries, NATO has largely retained a positive reputation amongst other member states. 

About 53 percent of people across 16 member states out of 29 have a favourable view of the organisation, while 27 percent have expressed a negative perception.

Three non-member states were also surveyed by the PEW. Sweden and Ukraine have a positive perception of the alliance, 63 and 53 percent respectively. However, only 16 percent of Russians see it positively.

The favourability of NATO has decreased among member states in recent years, due to internal debates related to financial issues and the organisation’s collective defence doctrine.

US President Donald Trump last year criticised European countries over their failure to keep their military investment obligations to NATO.

“NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS,” he tweeted.

French President Emmanuel Macron stood by comments he made describing NATO as suffering from a lack of strategic purpose akin to “brain death”.

Trump described Macron’s criticism of NATO as “very, very nasty” before the NATO’s 70th anniversary summit.

Another controversial issue, which creates a huge divergency amongst NATO members, is the commitment to Article 5, which considers an attack against a member state as an attack against the whole alliance.

Because of US and French support for the YPG in Syria, the collective defence doctrine was damaged within the alliance.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK which is recognised as an international terrorist organisation by the US, European Union and Turkey.

“But if our friends at NATO do not recognise as terrorist organisations those [YPG] we consider terrorist organisations ... we will stand against any step that will be taken there,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Speaking to TRT World, Abdullah Agar, a Turkish security analyst, said that the alliance failed Turkey after the US and other member countries supported the YPG, ignoring NATO's commitments toward member states and leading to a major breach of trust.

Another reason why Turkey grew wary of the alliance was Western countries' support of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which orchestrated a bloody coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 250 people in Turkey, and injured more than 2,000.

“Especially by the US and many European countries opened a space for FETO to earn money and to continue its existence against Turkey,” Agar said. 

Despite NATO itself not taking the position, according to Agar, leading member countries took positive stances for terror groups which fight against Turkey.

“Even in the crisis in Syria, NATO does not take action, it produces only a discourse of support,” he added.

“NATO needs transparency and a unifying doctrine to be accepted by all member state societies.”

Source: TRT World