Turkey’s young voters

Al Jazeera asks Istanbul’s youth what they expect from the country’s new government.

Ahead of general elections on July 22, Turkish youth has become more vocal about the country’s political deadlock, religion, the treatment of minorities and employment opportunities.

Al Jazeera took to the streets of Istanbul to find out what young people expect from their new government.

Mehmet, 24, unemployed

“The first thing we want from the government is to elect the next president and also provide new job opportunities for the youth.

Thank God the ruling party is [Party of Justice and Development] AKP, and the president of this party tells us that if you look for a job, a job will find you, but if you don’t even bother to look then you won’t find any work. I hope that this campaign is heard in different cities all across Turkey, not only in Istanbul.”

Tulin, 23, swimming instructor

“The first thing that must change is the economy. Since I was a student I have believed that we should have more opportunities for those who can’t complete their university education within the allotted time period.

There is so much that needs to change, the new government will have to work hard. I’m a swimming teacher. I found my job easily because there are plenty of jobs around for someone who graduates from my faculty.

I recently graduated and it wasn’t so difficult for me to find a job. But there are many people who have graduated from better universities. These graduates say that the country is poor and that there are so many people without jobs, but they can place these people in factories to work.”

Mujdat, 25, electronics and communication graduate, unemployed

“I want the government to assign more teachers for IT and computers, and I want them to invade northern Iraq.”


Tugba, 20, student

“The first thing the new government should do is to settle our foreign debt, and already the current government is working on it.

But I think it’s more logical if they find a concrete solution to this, they can find new sources to close this debt.

For example, foreign powers should let us use our natural resources such as the mineral boron, this is one example of how we can be rid of it our debt. At the same time they can make a change in the education system that will only take into account the ideas of people and not their appearance, I would be much more happy then.

I am a student but outside Turkey, because in my country people care about the physical appearance instead of the ideas of the student so I have to.

I’m studying in Austria at the moment.”

Osman, 20, student

“I think the government who comes to power should create new jobs and opportunities for young people like me. And they have to open new universities.

I want them to open up such a path for us and give us more opportunities, this is what we want.”

Harun, 22, student

“I think the first thing the new government should do is to change the current education system and revise it. There is nothing more important than this. They should absolutely focus on education.

Instead of constructing mosques they should build schools. We support the girls back to school campaign.”

Ertan, 22

“The first thing they should do is decrease the high cost of transportation, but I doubt they will reduce the price of gas as some politicians say in their campaign.

The cost of transport is just so expensive and we spend so much money on this. I think this is the first problem that needs to be solved.”

Bersu, 18, student

“Educational reform is a must because the current one is so bad, and I want a fully independent Turkey. I’m not sure if the correct way to do this is to settle our foreign debt or to just not do what foreign powers want us to do, and instead do what we want.

But I don’t think my country is independent right now, and I want it to be fully independent.”

Erhan Yilmaz, 27, shop assistant

“I think the current government is doing what it is supposed to do, but I think there are new things they should do as well.

They should care more about the education system; they can look at European education practices as an example.

The current situation is good compared to that of previous governments. I expect them to follow what is happening in other countries in the world and use these as an example for our own development.”

Source: Al Jazeera

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