Turkey’s Generation Z opposes Erdoğan, imperilling his chances of re-election

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is failing to win the hearts of young Turks reaching voting age, a failure that can hamper his prospects for re-election, Deutsche Welle said on Sunday.

DW cited a livestream from June 26 in which Erdoğan met with high school students to whom he delivered advice ahead of the university entrance examinations.

The video saw a flood of comments as discontented young people logged on to the livestream to dislike the video and tell the president that they would not vote for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), criticising the government's refusal to postpone the entrance exams.

There are some 13 million people in Turkey who belong to Generation Z, a reference term used for those born between the mid-90s and 2010 and who have used digital technology since an early age.

This demographic could play a key role in the next elections which are scheduled for 2023, DW said.

"This generation will be a decisive factor in the 2023 parliamentary elections," DW cited Gezici polling agency head Murat Gezici as saying.

Erdoğan and his AKP have been enjoying widespread support among Turkish voters for almost 20 years, but parents of these young voters do not determine how they could vote, with "87.5 percent saying their parents' opinions have no influence on how they will cast their votes," Gezici said.

"The anger over the exams was a turning point. Just like parliamentary elections in 2023 will be a turning point – because that is when Generation Z will hold the balance of power," DW cited political scientist Nezih Onur Kuru as saying.


(An earlier version of this article erroniously referred to the demographic cohort Generation Z as Millennials. Ahval regrets this error.)