Young people see no future in Turkey - analyst

Turkey is experiencing a brain drain of much of its most talented young people due to economic worries, unemployment, corruption, and growing authoritarianism, analyst Burak Bekdil said in an article published on the Gatestone Institute’s website on Saturday. 

Bekdil said that most young people have defied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s stated aim of raising a devout, religiously conservative generation, and instead are more likely to be pro-European and liberal in their beliefs.  

He also cited a recent poll by SODEV which found that 60.5 percent of young people that support Erdoğan said they would prefer to live in Christian-majority Switzerland with half the salary they would earn in Muslim Saudi Arabia. 

SODEV's study also found that 70.3 percent of those surveyed thought talented young people cannot have a successful career in Turkey without nepotism.

“It is not surprising, then, that the young Turks want to build a life for themselves not in their own country, or an Islamic country, but in countries where civil liberties are sacrosanct,” he said.

In 2019, a total of 330,289 people left Turkey to live abroad and 40.8 percent of those who emigrated were between the ages of 20 and 34.

Bekdil cited Seren Selvin Korkmaz, executive director of the Istanbul Political Research Institute, as saying in the Arab News in July:

"Migration becomes an exit strategy from everyday struggles. In the country, youth unemployment is more than 25 percent. Many of these young people are still financially dependent on their families or are working for low wages...this creates a 'violence of uncertainty' for them. In addition to unemployment, authoritarian tendencies in the country - including social media bans and threats to freedom of thought - impact the youth and make them worry for their future."

Bekdil said that, with the passing of legislation this week tightening control over social media, many young people in Turey are only likely to feel increasingly restricted and repressed in the future.

“It is not surprising that young Turks in the 21st century do not want to be strangled by the unpredictable dictates of an Islamist regime,” he said. “Erdoğan might sit down and ask himself: Why do the youths whom he wanted to make ‘devout’ want to flee their Muslim country and live in ‘infidel’ lands?”