The Social Democracy Foundation ( SODEV ), shared a Youth Survey Report, measuring the socio-economic profile of young people in different regions of Turkey, - in an attempt to identify the expectations of young people, as well as highlight problems that may require action.

The research, collected via computer-assisted telephone interviews in 12 Turkish provinces, sampled the opinions of over 600 young people.

EUROSTAT AND TURKSTAT DATA REVEALING

According to data compiled by The European Statistical Office (Eurostat) and the Turkey Statistical Institute (TSI), 15% of the 13 million young people in Turkey, are struggling with lack of access to education & employment, inequality of opportunity and insecurity.

ATMOSPHERE OF INSECURITY DRIVES YOUTH TO OTHER COUNTRIES

While this atmosphere of insecurity leads young people to dream of living in other countries, the need for an emergency measures package to tackle youth unemployment in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, is being voiced in many quarters.

ONE IN FOUR YOUNG PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED

The data shows that one in four young people is unemployed, with the unemployment rate for young women rising from 25.3% in 2018 to 30.6% last year. Youth employment was at 33.1% in 2019. 17.7% of those employed are in agriculture, 28.2% in industry and 54.1% in service sector. 25.7% of the population between the ages of 15-24 are neither in education nor in employment. One in three young people, who are high school or university graduates are neither in education nor in employment. 35% of Turks who migrated between provinces in 2018-2019, were young people aged 15-24.

TURKEY’S EDUCATION SPENDING LOWEST IN OECD

Among OECD members, Turkey has been identified as the country with the lowest education spending, with more spent per student in primary education than secondary.

YOUNG ADULTS RELIANT UPON FAMILY

According to SODEV research, 70% of young people in Turkey are not financially independent from their families. When broken down by political allegiance, this question showed that amongst young people, 65.3% of AKP voters, 66.7% of CHP voters, 81.8% of HDP voters and 75% of IYI voters and 57.1% of MHP voters are financially dependant upon their families. These results, which corroborate past research, are striking in terms of showing that a majority of young people are deprived of the economic means to allow them to escape the “family comfort zone.”

CHP YOUTH MORE SECULAR

One prominent finding of the research is the weight placed by young people upon “freedoms.” For 68.3%, the 'freedom to express your opinions' is of primary import, while 52% prioritise the rights of others to express their opinions freely. While sensitivity to freedom is higher among CHP voters, the importance of religious values is lower; suggesting higher numbers of secularists amongst CHP supporters. Speaking to Euronews, SODEV (Social Democracy Foundation) leader Ertan Aksoy said “There is a perception of youth formed on Twitter, but the real situation is rather different. Their highest priorities, in terms of social and personal values, are issues of "freedom" and the "right to self-expression".

YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE ABROAD

Young people are very enthusiastic about living abroad. 62.5% of youth across Turkey respond that they want to settle and live abroad if given the opportunity. Among young AKP voters, whose party has held the reins of power in Turkey since 2002, the proportion of young people who voice enthusiasm for a life overseas is 47.5%, compared to 74.4% of young CHP voters. Amongst young supporters of other political parties, around 60% respond positively to the prospect of living abroad.

HALF OF YOUNG AKP SUPPORTERS WANT TO LEAVE TURKEY

In the Euronews interview, Aksoy also said “Half of young AKP supporters want to settle abroad, despite their party holding power here for 18 years. The answer to the question “What is important for you?” reveals their true belief. They prioritise their own freedom first, but the freedom of others to express themselves comes second to that. It is this kind of thinking that leads to an atmosphere where people get arrested for posting a tweet.”

YOUNG HDP SUPPORTERS DO NOT FEEL FREE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

When young people are asked whether or not they can freely express their thoughts on social media, those who feel least able to do so are young HDP supporters, with 54.5% of them stating that “on no condition” are they free to express themselves online. This figure is just 12.8% in CHP voters, and only 9% among AKP voters. According to Aksoy, although not all of the young people produce political content, a situation in which solely non-political social media posts are permitted, cannot be called “Freedom.” The social media platform that is most popular among young people is Instagram, which is usually used for non-political content, with 93.2%, followed by Twitter and Facebook. Young people born after 1990 are known as “digital natives” because they grew up with digital technology. They are also the first generation to have mobile internet access throughout their teenage and young adult life. Aksoy adds “The high percentage of HDP voters who say that they cannot express themselves freely on social media, tells us that young people with certain beliefs and values, feel pressure to limit expression of their political identity online.”